Mumbai (Maharashtra): One of the key witnesses in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh alleged fake encounter case told a Mumbai court on Saturday that Shaikh was given the contract to kill former Gujarat home minister Haren Pandya. He claimed that Shaikh killed Pandya on the orders of former Gujarat IPS officer DG Vanzara.

The witness, whose name has not been disclosed, told the court that he had mentioned this to an officer of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) who didn’t include his claims in his testimony. The CBI, which probed the case, claimed that Pandya was killed in 2003 as a revenge for the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Sohrabuddin was killed in November 2005 in an alleged fake encounter case. DG Vanzara, who had been named in the case, was discharged last year. The witness said he met Shaikh in 2002 and became good friends with him and his wife Kausar Bi and his associate Tulsi Prajapati.

“During that time, Sohrabuddin told me he had got money from DG Vanzara to kill Gujarat’s home minister Haren Pandya and he completed the job. I then told him that what he did was wrong and he had killed a good person,” the witness told the court. The witness further said that in 2005 he was arrested by Rajasthan police and lodged at Udaipur jail where he met Prajapati.

“Prajapati told me that the Gujarat police killed Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausar Bi,” the witness said, deposing before special CBI Judge S J Sharma. The testimony will continue next week.

Shaikh and his wife were killed in an alleged fake encounter in 2005 by Gujarat police. Prajapati was later killed in another alleged fake encounter by Gujarat and Rajasthan police. Of the 38 people charged by the CBI for the two alleged fake encounters, 16 were discharged by the trial court. Those discharged included BJP chief Amit Shah, Vanzara and all senior officers of Gujarat and Rajasthan police.