Fake encounters: Gujarat cops recorded lies of witnesses on oath

India on 12 July 2013
Location : Ahmedabad, India | Source : Times of India

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat police not only fabricated evidence during their investigation into the fake encounter cases but also made "witnesses" record false statements under section 164 of the CrPC.

This came to light when the CBI reinvestigated the cases and revealed how the Gujarat cops had obtained the so-called witnesses' statements on oath to give the testimonies the sanctity of genuine evidence.

In the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, the CBI has revealed that the Mumbai girl and Javed Shaikh, killed along with her, were in the custody of sleuths of central IB and the city crime branch from June 12, 2004.

But when the case was being investigated by the Gujarat police, the then ACP Parikshita Rathod had recorded the statement of one Manojkumar Siddhapura before a judicial magistrate under section 164. Siddhapura had claimed that Ishrat and Javed were in Surat on July 14, 2004.

Siddhpura is the owner of Shakti Garage in Varachha, Surat. He told the magistrate on oath that Ishrat and Javed had got their Indica car repaired at his garage. Siddhapura had also given crime branch PSI K S Desai a receipt for Rs 1,025 that was "paid" to him as repairing charges. He had claimed that Ishrat and Javed had refused to accept the receipt.

"The crime branch obtained so many statements under Section 164 mainly because this procedure gives legal sanctity to an investigation. The Gujarat police wanted to hide the falsehood of their case," said advocate I H Syed, who represents Ishrat's mother. In fact, Rathod had presented 15 statements made by witnesses on oath and Siddhapura's was one of them. Another such witnesses, Manish Christian, of Raj Palace Hotel, had claimed that Ishrat and Javed had stayed there on May 26 and 27, 2004.

When asked about such statements, advocate Mukul Sinha said, "Such statements amount not only to criminal offence but also to contempt of court by the investigators."

Gujarat's CID (crime) had also recorded a false statement on oath in the Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter case. The investigating officer of the case, DSP R K Patel, is now facing prosecution for doing that. The CBI chargesheet in the Tulsi case revealed how Patel had coerced statements from the family members of Tulsiram's landlord, Komal Jha.

During its investigation of the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, the CBI had recorded in May 2010 the statements of the family of Jha. The statements established that Tulsi was absent in mid-November 2005 when he had accompanied Sohrabuddin to Hyderabad.

However, DSP Patel called the family to Gujarat in August 2010 and threatened them to change their statement.

To get the police off their back, they gave a false statement before chief judicial magistrate, Himmatnagar. As directed by Patel, they said that Tulsi was present in Bhilwara when Sohrabuddin was allegedly abducted by the Gujarat police while on way from Andhra Pradesh.

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