Prajapati encounter: Eight IPS officers turn witnesses
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The CBI could not have made much headway in the Tulsiram Prajapati encounter killing probe but for the testimonies of eight Gujarat-cadre IPS officers of whom five are serving officers while three others who retired over the last few years.
According to the CBI's chargesheet, DIG Rajnish Rai is one of the main witnesses who helped prove that the encounter was staged. Currently on a three-year sabbatical, Rai had first investigated and subsequently arrested his colleagues in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case. He later openly accused the state government of spoiling his Annual Confidential Report (ACR) with negative remarks and moved the Central Administration Tribunal (CAT) challenging the same.
In fact, the CBI has included Rai's affidavit before CAT as evidence while naming former DGP P C Pande as a conspirator in the Tulsiram Prajapati encounter case. Rai had also accused Pande and IPS officer O P Mathur of destroying evidence that linked Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram cases.
The other IPS officers made witnesses include principal of police training school in Vadodara, I M Desai, additional DGP in CID (crime) P P Pandey who is himself an accused in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, and joint commissioner of police (crime) A K Sharma.
Among the retired police officers who have testified against their former colleagues are V V Rabari, who has formally joined the state Congress after retiring as additional DGP, retired DGP Sudhir Sinha, Rajan Priyadarshi and G C Raiger.
Assistant commissioner of police Mayur Chavda, who was recently transferred from Detection of Crime Branch, and N K Barot, the then police inspector in CID (Crime & Railways) who was a Reader PI attached to Geetha Johri are also among the witnesses. Barot is said to have testified against Johri, who had supervised the Gujarat Police's probe into the Sohrabuddin encounter case.