MUMBAI: Yet another prosecution witness in the case of alleged fake encounters of Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Tulsiram Prajapati turned hostile today, taking the total number of such witnesses to 71.
Rakesh Adhikari, a 'panch witness' (a witness testifying to the search and seizures made by the police at crime scenes) was declared hostile by CBI judge S J Sharma after he retracted a part of his statement, given to the CBI in 2010.
In his statement to the CBI, he had said the police, which had probed the case initially, had shown him the site along the Dhavdi river in Gujarat where the body of Kausar Bi, Shaikh's wife, was allegedly burnt.
He had further purportedly told the CBI that the police had measured the place and videographed the entire crime scene inspection process.
Adhikari, while deposing before the CBI court today denied seeing any video shooting of the crime scene, and said he had only signed a statement handed to him by the CBI officers without reading it.
At this, Adhikari was declared hostile by the CBI counsel.
Shaikh, a suspected gangster, was killed in an alleged fake encounter by Gujarat Police in November 2005.
His wife Kausar Bi was also allegedly killed.
Prajapati, an aide of Shaikh who was said to be a witness to the encounter, was allegedly killed by police at Chapri village in Gujarat's Banaskantha district later in December 2006.
Of the 38 people charged by the CBI for the alleged fake encounters, 15 have been discharged by the trial court in Mumbai.