Reiterating that Tulsiram Prajapati was killed in a genuine encounter, the lawyer of an accused Gujarat Police officer Tuesday told a special CBI court here that his client fired on Prajapati in "self-defence".
Rajesh Bindra, lawyer of Ashish Pandya, said this while presenting his final argument before special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Judge S J Sharma.
As per the CBI charge sheet, which was filed earlier, Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Kausar Bi were abducted by the Gujarat ATS (Anti-Terrorism Squad) on November 26, 2005 when they were travelling, along with Prajapati, to Sangli in Maharashtra from Hyderabad in a private bus.
Prajapati, who was a witness to the incident, was allegedly killed by the Rajasthan and Gujarat Police a year later (2006) in another fake encounter, as per the CBI charge sheet.
Pandya, who was then sub-inspector with Gujarat Police, was part of the special task force to eliminate Tulsiram at Chapri village of Ambaji town in Banaskantha district.
Pandya had allegedly pulled the trigger on Prajapati.
"The encounter was genuine. Pandya fired on Prajapati in self defence," his lawyer said, adding he was discharging his official duty.
Following the encounter, Prajapati was taken to hospital where he was declared dead by doctors, Bindra added.
Bindra also told court that the injury sustained by Pandya during the encounter was not a "self-inflicted" wound as claimed by the investigating agency.
Bindra further claimed the prosecution had no evidence against Pandya, and, therefore, he should be discharged.
Wahab Khan, lawyer of Abdul Rehman, another accused charged with firing at Sohrabuddin, said the investigating agency had failed to connect the empty shells, recovered from the spot, to Rehman's weapon.
Khan also refuted the investigating agency's claim that Rehman had filed an FIR in connection with Sohrabuddin's killing.
The final argument of all the accused is likely to be completed on Tuesday.
At present 22 accused are facing trial in the alleged fake encounters of Sohrabuddin and Prajapati.
(With inputs from agencies.)