MUMBAI: Two more prosecution witnesses in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Tulsiram Prajapati alleged fake encounter cases today turned hostile before a special CBI court here, taking the total number of such witnesses to 68.
Prosecution witnesses Ghanshyam, Heera Lal Ahari and Khum Singh deposed before special CBI judge S J Sharma.
Of them, Ghanshyam and Ahari turned hostile.
Ghanshyam was then assistant train driver and Ahari a guard of the Udaipur Mail by which Prajapati, escorted by a police team, travelled on December 27, 2006.
In his statement to the Central Bureau of Investigation, Ghanshyam had said the train left for Udaipur on December 27, 2006, at 2.10 AM and suddenly came to a halt at 3.00 AM.
When Ahari asked over a walkie-talkie why the train stopped, he told Ahari that somebody had pulled the chain in the rear waggon, Ghanshyam told the CBI.
When Ghanshyam reached the rear waggon, Ahari told him that a prisoner had escaped from the custody of the Udaipur police after throwing chilli powder in the eyes of one of the cops.
However, he did not see any traces of chilli powder on the face of the police officer or on his dress, Ghanshyam had told the CBI.
The CBI's case is that the story of escape by Prajapati was a concocted one, and in reality, he was killed in a fake encounter.
In the court today, Ghanshyam gave a slightly different version.
He had seen the policeman rubbing his eyes due to the chilli powder, he told the court.
The CBI lawyer then declared him hostile.
Ahari was also declared hostile as he too said that he saw chilli powder on the policeman's face, contradicting his earlier statement to the agency.
Besides, in his statement to the CBI, Ahari had said they had not recovered any mobile phone from the spot where Prajapati had allegedly escaped.
However, in the court, he said he did find a mobile phone which he handed over to the police.
Shaikh, a suspected gangster, was killed in an alleged fake encounter by the Gujarat Police in November 2005.
His wife Kausar Bi was also allegedly killed.
Tulsi 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 in December 2006.
Of the 38 people charged by the CBI for the alleged fake encounters, 15 have been discharged by the trial court.