Witness Azam Khan’s wife moves HC in Sohrabuddin case

Alleges accused, Udaipur Police issued threats to husband

Published - December 11, 2018 01:09 am IST - Mumbai

Sohrabuddin Shaikh and his wife Kausar Bi were killed in an alleged fake encounter in 2005 by Gujarat Police.

Sohrabuddin Shaikh and his wife Kausar Bi were killed in an alleged fake encounter in 2005 by Gujarat Police.

The wife of Azam Khan, a crucial witness in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Tulsiram Prajapati alleged fake encounter case, has filed a petition in the Bombay High Court. Rizwana, a resident of Udaipur, said her husband “is a material witness in the case” and had testified that the “Sohrabuddin encounter was fake and Tulsiram, a witness to the murder, was killed in a fake encounter”.

She claimed in her petition that the accused, Abdul Rehman, a former police inspector with Rajasthan Police, threatened her husband on the morning of the deposition. She said Mr. Rehman had come in a black SUV to “a hotel having the word ‘silver’ in its name at Syed Kazi Street in Mumbai” where he had been kept after being taken into custody from Udaipur to Mumbai.

Ms. Rizwana said the Udaipur Police personnel made her husband sit in Mr. Rehman’s car for about half an hour. She alleged that Mr. Rehman told her husband that he would be implicated in other false cases if he failed to depose in court as per the accused’s wishes.

Ms. Rizwana said, “This was subsequent to the unrelenting torture that he faced at the hands of Udaipur Police personnel in the previous 20 days while he was in their custody.” She also claimed that her husband was not shown his statements under Section 164 (confessional statement) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Phase of intimidation

According to the petition, the “current phase of intimidation began on June 7, 2018 when Azam Khan, his two brothers and uncle were picked up by the Udaipur Police”. The petition said the Udaipur Police threatened Mr. Khan’s mother and said her sons and brother would not be let off if their instructions were not obeyed during the deposition.

The petition said that within four days, the mother filed an application for the prosecution of the errant police officials after which they were let off. Ms. Rizwana recalled that when she deposed as a witness in the case on September 26, an unknown person had warned her, “Tell Azam to give his statement as we have told him to.”

Ms. Rizwana also submitted a handwritten letter from Mr. Khan stating that he wanted to give his statement but feared for his life. In the letter, Mr. Khan sought permission to appear before the court to provide his statement “on a date of his choice so that his appearance before the court remains unpredictable and unscheduled in public”.

Ms. Rizwana urged the court to issue fresh summons to her husband, cancel the appointment of the special public prosecutor in the case and review the prosecution’s evidence.

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