Controversial ex-IPS officer DG Vanzara, an accused in the fake encounter cases of Ishrat Jahan and Soharabuddin Sheikh, on Wednesday walked out of the Sabarmati Central Jail in Ahmedabad after spending almost seven and half years in prison.
Soon after his release, an elated Vanzara said, "Surely, acche din (Good days) have returned for me and other Gujarat police officers." The former Gujarat top cop alleged that the state police was targeted for "extra legal political reasons". "Police of every state in the country fought against terrorism. But Gujarat Police was targeted by the previous political regime not for a day but for last eight years," Vanzara told reporters here.
"Maximum number of encounters took place in Uttar Pradesh, while in Gujarat it was the least. But then also Gujarat Police was targeted for extra legal political
reasons," he said.
Earlier in the day, the former DIG was greeted by hundreds of his supporters outside the jail. A local court here had granted him bail in the Ishrat Jahan case on February 3, while he had earlier got bail from a Mumbai court in the Soharabuddin Sheikh and Tulsi Prajapati case, which were clubbed by the Supreme Court.
Vanzara will have to leave Gujarat, as the court while granting him conditional bail, had asked him not to enter the state. He was arrested on April 24, 2007 by CID crime in connection with the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, and since then he was behind bars.
Vanzara, during his stint in Ahmedabad crime branch as head of State Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), was made an accused in the fake encounter cases of Sheikh, Prajapati and Jahan by the CBI.
He was deputy commissioner of police (DCP) in the city crime branch, when 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 Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004.
The city crime branch had then said that those killed in the encounters were Lashkar-e-Taiba (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 charge sheet in August 2013, saying 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 charge sheet was filed, he should be released on bail.
During the hearing of the case, Vanzara's advocate VD 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.