Another prosecution witness in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case turned hostile on Wednesday. Sheikh was a wanted criminal who was killed by the Gujarat Police in the 2005 encounter, which is alleged to have been staged.
The witness, a woman who was on the bus from which Sheikh, his wife Kausar Bi and his associate Tulsiram Prajapati were allegedly abducted, said she did not see anything, PTI reported. She is the 50th witness examined by the Central Bureau of Investigation in case to turn hostile.
On Wednesday, the prosecution was to examine three witnesses. The CBI could not trace one of them, a government official, while the second one who had earlier told the agency in her statement that she saw the three of them get off the bus, was declared hostile.
According to the CBI’s case, Sheikh, his wife Kausar bi and Prajapati were abducted from a luxury bus on November 23, 2005. Sheikh was killed in an encounter on November 26, while Kausar bi, was killed a few days, according to the prosecution.
The witness, their co-passenger, had said in an earlier statement that the bus was stopped around midnight and three passengers, two men and a woman in a burkha, were asked to get down. They did not board the bus again, she had said, according to the Hindustan Times.
She had also mentioned the date of their travel, and that the bus had stopped at a local restaurant where her husband and father-in-law alighted for tea. She had told investigators that after the bus resumed the journey, it stopped suddenly with a jolt, waking up all the passengers. She had even specifically spoken about the three passengers who were made to get off the bus.
In court on Wednesday, she claimed she slept through the journey and that she did not remember any details. She said, “I do not remember the dates of this travel on the bus,” The Indian Express reported. “I do not remember the travel company bus we had booked. I do not remember the place from where we boarded the bus. I do not remember the seat numbers we were seated on,” she said when asked about her previous statements to the Gujarat CID and the CBI.
She claimed she only remembered that her mother-in-law sat next to her and her father-in-law was seated behind them. Her husband did not travel with her that night, she said.
Earlier in April, a schoolteacher from Maharashtra told the court that he did not remember helping translate the statements of an eyewitness to the abduction of Sheikh. The prosecution ultimately declared the teacher a hostile witness too.