Gujarat former top cop Vanzara complets year in jail

April 24th, 2008 - 5:48 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Narendra Modi

Ahmedabad, April 24 (IANS) Former senior Gujarat police official D.G. Vanzara completed a year in jail Friday following his arrest for the staged killings of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kausar Bi in 2005. The fake encounters, which Vanzara claimed were to protect Chief Minister Narendra Modi, had triggered a storm of protests across the country. The arrest of Vanzara and over two dozen police officials followed the sensational admission of the Gujarat government in the Supreme Court that Sohrabuddin was killed in a fake encounter by Vanzara and his men.

It was an irony that a tough cop like Vanzara broke down when being handcuffed by the police before being taken to a hospital for medical check-up last year. Vanzara then filed an application against the police, saying that handcuffing was a humiliation and infringed upon his human rights. This application is under process.

Vanzara’s tenure saw a spurt in killings while he headed the city crime branch. Apart from the deaths of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife, Vanzara’s men allegedly also killed Sameer Khan in what seems to be their first fake encounter. Khan, a small-time criminal who was arrested Sep 27, 2002, was killed in the same way as Sohrabuddin in police firing a month later Oct 22.

Sameer’s was the beginning of the end for Vanzara as an encounter specialist. The crunch came when Sohrabuddin and his wife were picked up from a bus on the night of Nov 23 near Tandola village, 180 km from Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh). The game was up for Vanzara when the Sohrabuddin encounter of 2005 was challenged in the Supreme Court because Vanzara failed to give finishing touches to his storyline on the missing Kauser Bi.

Vanzara and his ATS brought about all deaths by labelling their victims as “terrorists”. The ATS then stage-managed a shoot-out, preferably on the city’s outskirts early in the morning. Invariably, the deaths were proclaimed as an effort that saved the life of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Nine more “terrorists” were eliminated in this fashion over the next four years after Sameer’s death. Sohrabuddin brought the nemesis when he was shot Nov 26, 2005.

If Kausar Bi and Tulsidas Prajapati, Sohrabuddin’s friend, are added to the list, Vanzara’s tally will rise to 11. All the killings were conducted in cold blood.

Nothing shook the Modi government more than the killing of a small-time extortionist like Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausar Bi. The investigations in this case are going on.

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