Sohrabuddin killing: Third CBI witness turns hostile

Thursday, September 23, 2010

GANDHINAGAR - Azam Khan, a key witness in the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh staged shootout, Thursday retracted from a statement given to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). He is the third witness to do so.

Khan, who was shot at in Rajasthan Sep 14, submitted an affidavit in the designated CBI court in Ahmedabad that his statement to the premier investigating agency was taken under duress.

He is the third CBI witness to turn hostile. Earlier, Noor Ghoghari and Sohrabuddin Sheikh’s brother Nayimuddin contradicted their statements given to the CBI.

In his affidavit submitted in person to CBI court judge A.Y. Dave, Khan said that he was made to give the statement under threat. “I have stayed with Sohrabuddin and his associate Tulsi Prajapati but they never said anything to me.”

“I was threatened by the CBI and this statement was taken and it was never shown to me nor was I allowed to read it. I have never met Abhay Chudasama (former deputy commissioner of police, Ahmedabad, and an accused in the case) in my life,” said the affidavit.

“While taking (my) statement, a CBI officer was heard telling a senior CBI officer that he has given the same statement that Arjun Modvadia had told us,” said Khan.

Modvadia is a former Congress legislature party leader of Gujarat assembly.

Khan said in his affidavit that the CBI threatened to put him behind bars for a lifetime by implicating him in the Hamid Lala murder case of Rajasthan’s Udaipur and a firing case of Ahmedabad if he did not do what he was told.

“I was made to sign on twenty blank papers. I have never claimed that there was any threat to my life. I was forced to say this before a TV channel by the CBI,” he said.

Khan was shot by two motorcycle-borne people near Udai Sagar Lake in Udaipur Sep 14. He received bullet injuries in his left arm.

Over a dozen policemen, including Indian Police Service officers, have been arrested for the 2005 killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh.

Among those behind bars are former Gujarat minister of state for home Amit Shah and Chudasama.

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