Ahmedabad: Accused in many fake-encounters, Gujarat IPS officer DG Vanzara has spilled the beans on Friday when he testified before a special CBI court here that he carried out the encounter of Mumbai college student Ishrat Jahan on the orders given by his superior on the basis of inputs received from Intelligence Bureau (IB).
Vanzara, who has been in jail for more than seven years, made his submission through his lawyer during hearing on his bail plea. His lawyer VD Gajjar told the CBI court that the IB, in an affidavit before the Supreme Court in August, had clearly mentioned that the four persons killed in the encounter were terror suspects and the claim was supported by a statement of David Headly, a 26/11 plotter. However, the CBI charge sheet contradicts Vanzara’s claim as the inputs about the terror suspects coming to Gujarat were given to then Ahmedabad Police Commissioner KR Kaushik not to Vanzara. The inputs were forwarded to Vanzara, then a DIG, through his superior Kaushik, he said.
His counsel argued that Vanzara was not aware about IB’s inputs and he only executed the operation on the instructions of his superior but the CBI did not make Kaushik an accused in the encounter case.
He further asked the court that in the FIR, CBI relied upon statements of some police inspectors, who said they took part in the encounter on the orders of their superiors. Vanzara also did the same, then why was he “framed” while his superiors were not named accused by the agency. He also questioned why IB officers were let off the hook?
“CBI had not made four IB officials linked to the case (Rajendra Kumar, Tarun Mittal, MK Sinha and Rajiv Wankhede) accused and only Gujarat Police officers were named in the charge sheet”.
In its defence, CBI lawyer LD Tiwari said the agency had not received sanction from the Union Home Ministry, as required under Section 197 of CrPC, to proceed against the IB officers.
It is to be noted here that under the Section 197 of CrPC, no public servant can be prosecuted for an alleged offence committed during discharge of official duty without the government’s nod. Contending this, Vanzara counsel Gajjar said CBI did not opt for any such permission before naming Vanzara or any other Gujarat Police officer in the charge sheet. The court, after hearing the submissions, adjourned the matter to December 5.
It is to be recalled that Ishrat (19), a college girl from Mumbra near Mumbai, and along with three men – Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar – were shot dead allegedly by Gujarat Police near here on June 15, 2004 on suspicion that they were on a terror mission.
On the order of the Supreme Court, CBI did the probe of the encounter and found that it was cold-blooded murder in which over a dozen policemen, including IPS officers, were charged with murder and criminal conspiracy and Vanzara is one of them who got bail in another fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife. Vanzara’s submission, who was considered as a blue-eyed police officer in the then Modi-led Gujarat, may stir up hornets’ nest.