A witness in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case has claimed that policemen had threatened to kill Tulsiram Prajapati before he died in an encounter in 2006, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday. Prajapati was Sheikh’s aide and was a witness to his encounter in November 2005.

The witness made the claim during the hearing of the case in the Bombay High Court. He said that he was arrested in a false case to prevent him from travelling with Prajapati for court hearings. Prajapati’s nephew, the witness’ childhood friend, was also arrested with him, he alleged.

“Tulsiram had told us that since he was a witness in the abduction of his associate Sohrabuddin Sheikh and [Sheikh’s wife] Kausarbi, policemen wanted to kill him in an encounter,” the witness said. “Just when Kundan [Prajapati’s nephew] and I were to board a train, some policemen dressed in civil clothes stopped us and took us in a jeep to Surajpol police station. Both of us were beaten up continuously and detained for 20-25 days.”

The 28-year-old witness said the police had threatened to kill them too. He is currently in an Indore jail.

On Monday, the Bombay High Court asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to clear its stand on the review petitions filed by Sheikh’s brother in connection with the case, PTI reported.

Rubabuddin Sheikh has challenged the discharge of former Inspector General of Gujarat DG Vanzara and police officers Rajkumar Pandian and Dinesh MN. Vanzara has retired, while the other two still serve in the Rajasthan Police. The CBI has filed two petitions, challenging the discharge of a Rajasthan police constable and a Gujarat police officer.

Justice AM Badar is conducting daily hearings on all five petitions. Lawyers for Rubabuddin Sheikh and Pandian concluded their arguments last week.

When the hearing began on Monday, Badar asked the CBI whether it had anything to say on Pandian’s case, but the CBI said it was concerned only with the two pleas it had filed. At this, Badar said the agency represented the prosecution in the case and so, it must make arguments on all the pleas.

“We are dealing with the killings of three persons [Sheikh, his wife and aide] here,” Badar said. “You will have to make your stand clear on whether or not these officers should have faced trial considering the evidence in your chargesheet.”

Rubabuddin Sheikh’s lawyer opposed the discharge of Dinesh on Monday, arguing that he had played a key role in helping execute the conspiracy to kill Sohrabuddin Sheikh.