MUMBAI: The CBI during the final hearing of the Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Tulsiram Prajapati alleged fake encounter case told a court here Wednesday that hostile witnesses hampered the probe.
The final arguments in the matter began Monday and ended after lawyers of all the 22 accused made their submissions before special CBI judge S J Sharma.
Most of the accused are policemen from Gujarat and Rajasthan.
According to the CBI, Shaikh, a suspected gangster with terror links, and his wife Kausar Bi were killed in alleged fake encounters in 2005 by the Gujarat Police.
His aide Prajapati, who had witnessed the twin killings, was shot dead in another staged encounter in 2006 by police personnel from Gujarat and Rajasthan, the central agency has said in its charge sheet.
The case was initially probed by Gujarat CID before being transferred to the CBI in 2010 by the Supreme Court.
All the three incidents were clubbed into one case by the apex court.
During the trial, the prosecution examined 210 witnesses, of which 92 turned hostile.
CBI counsel B P Raju Wednesday said they entered into the frame after five years and witness examination began 12 years after the crime was committed due which there were some "lacuna" in the probe.
He said some of their star witnesses turned hostile during their trial which hampered the case.
Responding to the same, Sharma said, "I don't blame the CID. I don't blame the CBI. There are statements and witnesses. If they come here and say something else, it's not your fault. You did your job".
The case was shifted to Mumbai from Gujarat in September 2012 by the Supreme Court on the CBI's request to ensure a fair trial.
Of the 38 people charged by the CBI in the case, 16, including BJP chief Amit Shah -- the then Gujarat home minister -- and all senior police officials were discharged.