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Ishrat case: Vanzara tells court he only followed orders

PTI 29 Nov 2014, 9:06:33 AM IST

Ahmedabad: Jailed Gujarat IPS officer DG Vanzara on Friday told a special CBI court that he executed the 2004 Ishrat Jahan encounter on orders given by his superior on the basis of inputs received from Intelligence Bureau (IB). He made this submission through his lawyer during hearing on his bail plea.

His counsel VD Gajjar told CBI court judge KR Upahyaya 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.

According to the CBI charge sheet, the inputs about the terror suspects coming to Gujarat were given to then Ahmedabad Police Commissioner KR Kaushik. The inputs were forwarded to Vanzara, then a DIG, through his superior Kaushik, he said.

Vanzara was not aware about IB's inputs and he only executed the operation on the instructions of his superior. However, the central agency did not make Kaushik an accused in the encounter case, Gajjar said.

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 asked.

Gajjar said 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, he maintained.

CBI lawyer LD Tiwari said the probe agency had not received sanction from the Union Home Ministry, as required under Section 197 of CrPC, to proceed against the IB officers.

Section 197 of CrPC provides that no public servant can be prosecuted for an alleged offence committed during discharge of official duty without the government's nod.

Responding to this, 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.

Ishrat (19), a college girl from Mumbra near Mumbai, and three men accompanying her - 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.

CBI, after a probe, concluded the encounter was "fake" and carried out jointly by Gujarat Police and IB. Besides Vanzara, over a dozen policemen, including IPS officers, were charged with murder and criminal conspiracy.