Controversial former Gujarat IPS officer D.G. Vanzara in a letter to the Gujarat government in May 2015 had claimed that BJP president Amit Shah may have been discharged by a CBI court, but was “very much an accused in the Sohrabuddin-Tulsiram encounter case.” Vanzara, an accused in the sensational Sohrabuddin-Tulsiram and Ishrat Jahan fake encounter cases, was out on bail then.
A special CBI court here on Tuesday discharged former senior Gujarat Police officers D.G. Vanzara and M.N. Dinesh from the Sohrabuddin A. Sheikh shooting case of 2005 in Ahmedabad.
Of the two Indian Police Service officers, Vanzara was then head of Crime Branch in Ahmedabad and Dinesh, from the Rajasthan cadre, then headed the Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad.
“Justice has been finally done to me by the judiciary,” Vanzara commented shortly after the court verdict by Special Judge S.J. Sharma.
The development comes as a setback to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which had described Vanzara as “the main conspirator” in the case while Dinesh had led the police team which killed the Sheikh couple 12 years ago.
The discharge comes nearly three years after current Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah was granted similar relief in the same case.
The case with major political overtones pertains to the killing of suspected gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife in November 2005 in Gujarat.
According to the CBI, Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi were allegedly picked up by the Gujarat ATS when they were proceeding from Hyderabad to Maharashtra’s Sangli in a bus.
While Sheikh – described by the Gujarat ATS as a terrorist linked with global terror groups – was gunned down near Gandhinagar, his wife was killed after a couple of days.
A co-passenger travelling with the couple, Tulsiram Prajapati, who was the sole prime witness in the alleged staged shooting case, was later killed by police in a gunfight at Chhapri village in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district in December 2006.
At the time, the CBI contended that an impression was sought to be created that Sheikh was shot dead by police when he tried to escape from their clutches.
Arrested in April 2007, Vanzara remained in judicial custody till September 2014 when he secured bail from the Bombay High Court but resigned from service in 2013. Dinesh was released in 2014.
Following a plea by the CBI for a fair trial, the case was transferred from Gujarat to Mumbai in September 2012. A year later, it was merged with the Prajapati case by the Supreme Court.
A total of 32 persons, including several top police officers, were arrested and charged in the case of which 15 people have been acquitted so far. (IANS)