IPS Officer Vanzara Gave Contract To Kill Gujarat Home Minister Haren Pandya, Witness Alleges In Court
“Former Gujarat IPS officer DG Vanzara ordered Shaikh to kill Haren Pandya,” said witness of the Sohrabuddin Shaikh alleged fake encounter case to the trial court, reported The Indian Express.
Haren Pandya, a BJP leader and former Gujarat Home Minister, was killed in 2003 in Ahmedabad while he was in his car after a morning walk.
Witness in the Trial court
Azam Khan, an earlier associate of Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Tulsiram Prajapati, is a key witness of Sohrabuddin Shaikh alleged fake encounter case. He alleged that he had given the same statement to CBI in 2010 but they didn’t put his statement on record.
The witness met Sohrabuddin in 2002 and became a good friend with his wife Kausar Bi and Tulsiram Prajapati.
During the trial, the witness said Sohrabuddin told him that he got a contract from DG Vanzara which was from higher-up to kill Pandya and he executed the task. Azam also said that he told Sohrabuddin that he has killed a good person and Pandya had helped bring both Hindu and Muslim communities together after 2002 riots. He decided to leave his company after the incident.
The witness further claimed that Prajapati told him that Shaikh and Kauser Bi were killed by Gujarat Police when Prajapati met him in Udaipur jail after he was arrested by Rajasthan police in 2005. Prajapati was later killed in an alleged fake encounter by Gujarat and Rajasthan police.
DG Vanzara discharged
DG Vanzara has been discharged by a special CBI court on August 1, 2017, on the alleged 2005 fake encounter cases of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, Kausar Bi and Tulsiram Prajapati, citing lack of evidence and absence of sanction to prosecute him.
What was the Sohrab, Prajapati encounter case?
There have been contrasting reports on the identity of Sohrabuddin Sheikh – some say he was a police informer turned rogue, some say that he was an extortionist who had angered influential people in the builder lobby in Gujarat and the marble lobby in Rajasthan; while others opine that he was a terrorist.
Sohrabuddin hailed from Jharnia village in Madhya Pradesh, was in his mid-30s and an established criminal.
On 23 November 2005, while he was travelling with his wife, Kauser Bi, from Hyderabad to Sangli in Maharashtra, the Anti-terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Gujarat police stopped his bus and took them away.
The couple was locked at a farmhouse outside Ahmedabad. Three days later, a police team led by Deputy Inspector General (DIG) and former ATS chief, D G Vanzara, took Sohrabuddin away and killed him in an alleged encounter. They claimed that he was a terrorist trying to attack the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
After his death, Kauser Bi went missing. The Gujarat CID later said that she had been killed and her body burnt.
A year later, on 28 December 2006, Sohrabuddin’s partner in crime, Tulsiram Prajapati, was also killed by the Gujarat police in an alleged encounter in Banaskantha. Investigations reveal that he knew about the Sohrabuddin encounter.
The case had been going on since 12 years as it was suspected that the policemen of three states, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan carried out the killing at the behest of political bosses to silence those who knew ‘too much’