In a startling revelation on Tuesday, Gujarat’s former Deputy Inspector General of Police DG Vanzara told a special court that the CBI wanted to arrest then then Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his home minister, Home Amit Shah, in the fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan.
A report by IANS said that while arguing for Vanzara in a discharge petition filed in the CBI court presided over by JK Pandya, his counsel VD Gajjar claimed that though the Central Bureau of Investigation intended to arrest Modi and Shah, “fortunately” it did not happen.
While Modi is now the Prime Minister of India, Shah is the President of Bharatiya Janata Party. Together, they’ve now become the two most powerful personalities of Indian politics.
Vanzara, who is out on bail in the case, had earlier submitted in the same court that Modi was secretly questioned by the case Investigating Officer when he was the Chief Minister. A special CBI court in Mumbai in August last year had discharged Vanzara and Rajasthan cadre IPS officer Dinesh MN in the case of alleged fake encounters of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati.
The Bombay High Court in September last year had asked the CBI why it had not challenged the trial court orders discharging senior IPS officers in the alleged fake encounter case of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati.
The court had also expressed its displeasure over the CBI’s decision to only challenge the acquittal of sub-inspector level officers but not IPS officers including DG Vanzara.
The CBI had given a clean chit in 2014 to Shah on grounds of “insufficient evidence”.
In June 2004, Mumbai-based 19-year-old Ishrat Jahan, her friend Javed alias Pranesh, and Pakistani nationals Zeeshan Johar and Amzad Ali Rana were killed in alleged fake encounter by a team of Vanzara’s men on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.
Ishrat Jahan and her friends were soon declared terrorists and accused of being on a mission to assassinate Modi. However, CBI investigations later concluded that the shootout was fake.
Vanzara’s lawyer on Tuesday claimed that the charge-sheet against his client in the case was “concocted” and that there was no prosecutable evidence against the former police officer.
He also said that the testimony of witnesses could not be believed as some were earlier among the accused in the case.
The CBI opposed the discharge plea of Vanzara. Another co-accused and senior police official N.K. Amin too has filed a discharge plea in the same court and hearing on it concluded last month.
In his final submission in the court, Amin, a retired SP and now a practicing lawyer, claimed that Satish Verma, the Gujarat cadre IPS official who assisted the CBI in the investigations, had “tampered with the evidence” and maintained that he had “never fired from his gun”.
Both former police officers had also sought parity with former in-charge DGP P.P. Pandey, a co-accused who was discharged by the court.
The court posted the matter for next hearing on 15 June.