Sohrabuddin case: Witness says CBI threatened him

A key witness in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case today retracted from his statement included in the CBI charge sheet.

Updated: Sep 23, 2010, 21:59 PM IST

Ahmedabad: A key witness in the
Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case today retracted from
his statement included in the CBI charge sheet, saying he was
"threatened" by the investigating agency into making false
remarks.

In an affidavit filed in the special CBI court of
Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate A Y Dave, Azam Khan
retracted from the statement that the agency included in the
charge sheet filed in the 2005 case.

Khan said he did not know anything about the fake
encounter of Sohrabuddin and the subsequent killing of
Tulsiram Prajapati, an associate of the alleged gangster and
one of the key witnesses in the case.

He said he had made the earlier statement after being
"threatened" by CBI to implicate him in the Hamid Lala murder
case by reopening it in the Rajasthan High Court.

CBI said that if he did not give statements according
to them in the Sohrabuddin matter, they would make sure he
spends his entire life in jail, he said in the affidavit.

Khan alleged that CBI threatened him, saying they
would get the probe in Popular Builder firing case, in which
he was an accused, transferred to the agency from the Supreme
Court, and secure his conviction.

Khan said he was frightened by CBI, handling the case
since January on the apex court`s direction, so he went to
Mumbai and recorded his statement before a magistrate.

Khan was reportedly shot last week in his home town
Udaipur where he works as a marble trader. Udaipur Police,
however, suspect that Khan had staged the attack on himself
to grab attention.

He further said in the affidavit that Abhay Chudasama,
an IPS officer-accused in the encounter case, never told him
he had saved Sohrabuddin in the Haren Pandya murder episode.
He alleged CBI had added this portion in his statement on its
own at the behest of Gujarat Congress leader Arjun Modhvadia.

Khan claimed that CBI, in July, asked him to give
interviews to television channels that money was paid for the
staged killing of Sohrabuddin in November 2005.

The CBI, in its charge sheet, said Khan was a member
of Sohrabuddin`s gang, which used to extort money from the
marble traders and businessmen in Rajasthan. He was also
involved in the killing of a gang leader, Hamid Lala, who used
to collect protection money from marble traders in Rajasthan.

Khan claimed he came to know, that Sohrabuddin was
running an extortion racket in collusion with Gujarat Police,
only from media reports.

However, Khan`s statement, included in the CBI charge
sheet, stated that he knew Sohrabuddin operated an extortion
racket with help from Chudasama, who was DCP, Ahmedabad Crime
Branch at the time of his arrest in April.

The statement said Chudasama, the first accused to be
arrested by CBI, used to take 75 per cent cut in the extortion
money, while Sohrabuddin got 25 per cent.

-PTI