A senior officer in the Rajasthan Police who was a witness in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case turned hostile before a special court on Monday, PTI reported. The number of prosecution witnesses in the case who have turned hostile has now reached 60.

Sheikh was a wanted criminal who was killed by the Gujarat Police in an encounter, which is alleged to have been staged, in 2005.

The witness, Bhanwar Singh, was then the station house officer of Hathipol police station in Rajasthan and is now the deputy superintendent of the state police. He was the investigating officer in a murder case in which Sheikh and his aide Tulsiram Prajapati were accused.

The court has so far examined 86 prosecution witnesses.

Singh was declared hostile after he claimed that two officials of the Central Bureau of Investigation had forced him to give a false statement in connection with the case in 2011. The officials had threatened that he would be arrested and made an accused in the case if he did not do so, Singh told the special CBI court.

The case has been the cause of much controversy over the years, not least because Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah was originally one of the accused.