After Pandey, Vanzara also seeks discharge from Ishrat Jahan encounter case

Ahmedabad:

Close on heels of the acceptance of the discharge petition of former in-charge DGP of Gujarat P P Pandey in the Ishrat Jahan Encounter Case, another accused in the case and former IPS officer D G Vanzara has also filed such petition in the special CBI court here.

He has termed the CBI charge-sheet in the case as ‘politically motivated’ during the regime of the then UPA government.

The court of designated CBI judge J K Pandya, which accepted the discharge petition on Pandey on February 21 this year, had yesterday issued notice to CBI on Vanzara’s plea ordering it to file a reply by March 28. Notably, the CBI had opposed the discharge petition of Pandey.

Vanzara has sought discharge on the ground of parity with Pandey.who was discharged on various grounds, including lack of sanction for prosecuting government servant, no strong prima facie case against him and unreliable witnesses. Vanzara has said that “more or less he is also facing the same charges as Pandey” and therefore, he should also be “exonerated”.

The former DIG has said that the CBI in its chargesheet named only seven policemen out of the total 19 accused who were named in the FIR. Citing a court judgment, Vanzara stated: “The investigating officer is not vested with the power of pardon even during the course of investigation.”

Vanzara has claimed that the CBI’s chargesheet was “politically motivated. He has alleged in the petition that it was filed with a view to topple the then democratically-elected (Narendra Modi government of Gujarat) government, (and the) entire plot appears to have been deployed by the then central government (led by the UPA)…” He has also claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was then Gujarat chief minister, was “interrogated” by the police in connection with the alleged fake encounter case.

“The fact also remains that, the then Chief Minister and the present Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also called by the IO (investigating officer) and was interrogated, however such material is not placed on record of this case…the fact remains that, it was the intention on part of the then investigating team, which had included one Satish Verma, IPS, was any how on mission so as to reach the then Chief Minister of the state and to rope him as the accused in this case…and for that purpose the story of this whole chargesheet is created and concocted,” Vanzara’s application claimed.

Vanzara has also claimed in his application that none of the witnesses in the case are reliable. “The statements of witnesses, which have been recorded under section 164 (5) of the CrPC, are highly suspicious,” he has claimed. He has argued that charges cannot be framed based on the statements of the accused who were “converted into witnesses by the investigating agency

“Prima facie it appears that the cited witnesses, out of whom a majority were cited accused in the FIR, might have agreed to falsely implicate him and others with the intention to save themselves from the prosecution. The entire material is nothing but a bundle of papers which have been falsely created with cooked up story so as to falsely involve the applicant and with intention to falsely create possible involvement of the then chief minister (Narendra Modi),” Vanzara’s discharge petition claimed.

The CBI had filed its chargesheet in the case in 2013 against seven policemen, including P P Pandey, Vanzara, Deputy Inspector General G L Singhal, DSP (retired) N K Amin, Deputy Superintendent of Police (retired) Tarun Barot and others for allegedly “kidnapping and murdering 19-year-old Ishrat Jahan, a resident of Mumbai, her friend Pranyesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh and two alleged Pakistani nationals in June, 2004. All of them were arrested and were later released on bail.

Gujarat police had claimed that Ishrat and her friends were operative of terror outfit LeT who had came to Ahmedabad with an intention to assassinate the then CM of Gujarat (Modi).

Notably, Vanzara was discharged in the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter cases last year. Vanzara was even not allowed to enter Gujarat for quite some time.

DeshGujarat

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