Thursday, 11 September 2014

Mumbai court grants bail to ex-Gujarat DIG Vanzara

NEW DELHI: A Mumbai court granted bail to former Gujarat deputy inspector general of police DG Vanzara in connection with the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case on Thursday.

Vanzara has been in jail since 2007 on charges of having conducted a series of extra-judicial killings while heading the Gujarat antiterrorist squad (ATS).


An Indian Police Service officer of the 1987 batch, Vanzara's tenure as head of the city crime bureau saw a spurt in encounter killings. He was known to be close to then Gujarat home minister Amit Shah, who reportedly made 331 calls to Vanzara and other police officers, many of them around the time of these killings.


The Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case is an ongoing criminal case in Gujarat, after the state police killed alleged underworld criminal Sohrabuddin Anwar Hussain Sheikh on November 26, 2005, while he was in police custody.




DG Vanzara appearing before a court in Ahmedabad on October 29, 2012. (TOI file photo by Bhadresh Gajjar)


According to the police, apart from being involved in the criminal extortion racket in Gujarat, Sheikh was also involved in arms smuggling in Madhya Pradesh, and also had murder cases registered against him in Gujarat and Rajasthan.


Sheikh was also said to be associated with the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, and planned to create communal chaos in the state by assassinating "an important political leader". Sheikh's wife Kauser Bi also disappeared on the same day as his killing.


A year later, on December 26, 2006, Sheikh's underworld associate Tulsiram Prajapati, a witness to Sheikh's killing, was also killed in another police encounter shooting.




The spot where Sohrabuddin Sheikh was killed near Ahmedabad. (TOI file photo by Yogesh Chawda)


A special CBI court hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati encounter cases on Tuesday had rejected the bail application of a former police inspector of Gujarat ATS who had allegedly fired at Sheikh.


"Your bail application is rejected on merit and on the ground of parity. You have fired three rounds and one has hit the deceased (Sheikh) and you have a direct role in the case," CBI court judge B H Loya said, rejecting the bail plea of NH Dhabi.


Dhabi had allegedly kidnapped Sheikh from Andhra Pradesh and was part of the police team that killed the gangster in a fake encounter. He had sought bail on the ground that some of the accused in the case had already got it.


Earlier, the court granted BJP president Amit Shah's prayer for exemption from personal appearance. Shah, in his application, had expressed his inability to attend the proceedings as was away and travelling.


That case is now likely to come up for hearing again on September 22.



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