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.
Johri, at present an additional DGP, has been made an accused in the Tulsiram Prajapati encounter case. A week after Prajapati was killed, she is said to have sought the permission of the then additional DGP at CID (Crime) “to go to Udaipur to interrogate Sylvester and Tulsi Prajapati (both being allegedly prime witnesses in the Sohrabuddin case) of whom Tulsi was recently encountered at B K (Banaskantha) by border range”. The CBI found this “strange and misleading” since she was aware that Prajapati had been killed.
In its chargesheet, CBI also details records of calls of “unnatural and uncommon” frequency between prime accused and former minister Amit Shah and S Pandia Rajkumar, the then Superintendent of Police in Gujarat ATS, just before and after the encounter of Tulsiram Prajapati, i.e. from 18.12.2006 to 31.12.2006. The agency has claimed there were as many as 20 phone calls between them in this period.