Sunday, January 8, 2012


CBI finally quizzes marble traders

Probe Into Sohrab, Tulsi Cases Back On Fast Track

Prashant Dayal | TNN

Ahmedabad: CBI officials probing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter cases have got hold of three crucial witnesses from Rajasthan. After being pulled up recently by the Supreme Court for the lack of initiative by the CBI in probing both these cases, the probe is now back in action.

CBI in its chargesheet filed for the Sohrabuddin case, had claimed that the historysheeter was gunned down by Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad over an extortion racket. CBI officials had also termed the encounter as nothing more than a contract killing.

There was a great degree of ambiguity in CBI’s chargesheet as the agency refrained from mentioning exactly who had given the contract to kill Sohrabuddin. This angle is now being actively followed by CBI. A team headed by senior officials had recently been to Rajasthan to investigate this missing link.

Three premier marble traders — RK Marble, Sangam Marble and Mariam Marble — were questioned by CBI in connection with the encounter. “The three marble traders were regulary threatened, harassed and extorted by Sohrabuddin. The trio said that they had contacted a local politician for help against Sohrabuddin,” said CBI sources.

All three have also agreed to become witnesses for the CBI in this case. “The three witnesses have given valuable information about the sequence of events before Sohrabuddin was killed. This will lend impetus to our investigations on the Rajasthan module,” said CBI officials.

A jail superintendent in Rajasthan, A R Niyazi, who was posted at Udaipur jail in 2005, was summoned twice by CBI for questioning but has failed to turn up. Now, CBI sources say, they might move court for a warrant to arrest Niyazi. “Soon after Sohrabuddin’s encounter, Tulsiram was lodged in the Udaipur jail, Niyazi had thrashed the historysheeter and had directed him to keep silent on the issue,” said CBI sources.

Hyderabad next?
Much like the Rajasthan module, CBI is now also actively pursuing the Hyderabad module of the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case. CBI in its chargesheet has said that Sohrabuddin, his wife Kauserbi and Tulsiram were abducted by Gujarat police in 2005, right before the encounter, from Hyderabad. In this operation Hyderabad police officials had played a supporting role and had escorted the couple to Ahmedabad. However, surprisingly, first Gujarat’s CID (Crime) and later CBI failed to unearth this part of the conspiracy.


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