Another witness in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case turned hostile on Wednesday, The Indian Express reported. Sheikh was a wanted criminal who was killed by the Gujarat Police in an encounter, which is alleged to have been staged, in 2005. Out of the 113 witnesses examined so far, 72 have been declared hostile.
Central Bureau of Investigation Judge SJ Sharma declared Rakesh Adhikari, a “panch witness”, hostile on Wednesday after he denied being present for the panchnama, a document that records evidence, near the spot where the body of Sheikh’s wife, Kausar Bi, was allegedly burnt, PTI reported.
A “panch witness”, one of the people present for the panchnama, testifies to the investigation process at the crime scene.
Adhikari had told the Central Bureau of Investigation in 2010 that police had shown him the site where Kausar Bi’s body was allegedly burnt in Gujarat. He had said that the police had recorded the inspection of the crime scene on video. On Wednesday, however, he said he had only signed a statement handed to him by investigators, without reading it.
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.