Sohrabuddin Fake Encounter Case: Key witness fears for life, PUCL appeals against prison transfer

In fresh developments in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, Azam Khan, a key witness, has moved Jodhpur High Court to stop transferring him from Udaipur jail to Ajmer. Khan fears for his life as previously another high profile witness Tulsiram Prajapati was allegedly killed during a similar prison transfer, allegedly at the behest of powerful perpetrators. Now, fearing a threat to his life and in interest of justice in a case that has already seen the unnatural and mysterious death of Judge Loya, human rights group People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) has written to the Jaipur Director General of Prisons to stop the transfer. 


Witness protection plays a key role in high profile litigations given how one testimony is all it takes to make or break a case. This element is especially significant in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case as over 80 witnesses have already turned hostile. Siting the case of the alleged extra-judicial killing of Tulsiram Prajapati, who was himself one of the main witnesses in the case, during a prison transfer, PUCL wrote, “Azam Khan, a crucial witness in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh murder case, has approached the Rajasthan High Court (S.B. Criminal Writ No.416/2018) for protection as he was threatened that he would be shifted to the high security jail at Ajmer and would be harmed along the way like Tulsiram Prajapati, who was a victim of a fake encounter. Despite the pendency of this petition, the next date of hearing for which is 17 December, the administration is now transferring Azam Khan to Ajmer jail from Udaipur jail.”
PUCL pointed out that there were no cases against him in Ajmer and added how the transfer was an intimidation tactic. The letter by PUCL President Kavita Srivastava says, “There are no cases against him in Ajmer, only in Udaipur. As such there is no good reason for him to be shifted to Ajmer apart from creating fear and intimidation. In light of the threat to Azam Khan’s life, we appeal to the administration to not do so and to take all possible measures to ensure his safety.” The threat at the Ajmer jail could stem from the presence of rival gang members.
The entire letter may be read here:




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