After spending seven and half years in jail, former Gujarat top cop D G Vanzara is all set to walk free as the special CBI court here today granted him bail in the fake encounter case of Ishrat Jahan and three others.
Granting him bail on a personal bond of Rs 2 lakh and barring his entry in Gujarat, Special CBI court Judge K R Upadhyaya said, “Application (of bail) is allowed.”
However, the ex-IPS officer has been told to mark his presence before that court on every working Saturday. He is also barred from leaving the country.
Vanzara, during his stint in the city crime branch as head of State Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), was made an accused in fake encounter cases of Soharabuddin Sheikh, Tulsi Prajapati and Ishrat Jahan, by the CBI.
Vanzara was arrested on April 24, 2007 by CID crime in connection with the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, and since then he is behind bars.
With this order, Vanzara will walk free after seven and half years. His advocate V D Gajjar told mediapersons, “Acchhe din aa gaye hain (Good days have come)”.
Vanzara was Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) in the city crime branch, when a Mumbra-based college girl Ishrat, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in an encounter with Gujarat police on the outskirts of the city on June 15, 2004.
The city crime branch had then said that those killed in the encounters were Lashkar-e-Taiyaba (LeT) terrorists and had landed in Gujarat to kill then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The CBI, which took over probe from the Gujarat High Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), had filed chargesheet in August 2013 saying that the encounter was fake and executed in the joint operation by the city crime branch and Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIB).
Vanzara had filed for bail last year and submitted that he is behind bars for more than seven years and as the chargesheet was filed, he should be released on bail.
During the hearing of the case, Vanzara’s advocate V D Gajjar alleged that the probe agency had acted with prejudice against his client.
Gajjar also submitted before the CBI court that Vanzara had merely followed the orders of his “superiors”.
Prosecution agency CBI opposed the bail plea saying Vanzara’s release can be a challenge to civil society and the suspended police officer can influence the trial of the encounter case.
Prosecutor L D Tiwari had argued before the special CBI court that bail cannot be granted only on the ground that the accused was in prison for long and the Supreme Court had said in a similar case that grant of bail in such a serious and grave offence would be “an open challenge to the civil society”.
Vanzara had also said in the bail plea that his name was not in the original FIR but CBI vindictively chargesheeted him.
On this, Tiwari had said there was nothing wrong in chargesheeting him as his role came to light later in the probe.
Earlier, a Mumbai court had given bail to Vanzara in the Soharabuddin Sheikh and Tulsi Prajapati case, which were clubbed by the Supreme Court.