Special CBI court discharged police officers in Sohrabuddin encounter case

Gujarat police had claimed that Sohrabuddin had links with Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Published: 01st August 2017 09:50 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st August 2017 09:50 PM   |  A+A-

CBI main office (File | PTI)

By Express News Service

MUMBAI: The special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court here, on Tuesday, dropped charges against former Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief D G Vanzara and former superintendent of police from Rajasthan M N Dinesh in the case of alleged fake encounters of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati.
 
This is the same case of 2005 in which former Gujarat home minister and current BJP national president Amit Shah too had been jailed in the year 2010. 
 
Vanzara said after the court’s verdict, “The court has declared both of us innocent. Indian judiciary might be slow but justice has finally been done.”
 
Vanzara, an officer of Deputy Inspector General (DIG) rank, was arrested in 2007 in the case. He was released in 2014, after spending a little over seven years in the jail, by the Bombay High Court for lack of evidence.
 
Gujarat police had claimed that Sohrabuddin had links with Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba. He and his wife Kausar Bi were allegedly abducted by the Gujarat ATS from Hyderabad on their way to Sangli in Maharashtra. Sohrabuddin was killed in an alleged fake encounter near Gandhinagar in November 2005, after which his wife disappeared. Prajapati, an aide of Sohrabuddin and an eyewitness to the encounter, was allegedly killed by police in Chapri village in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district in December 2006.
 
Soharabuddin hailed from the Zirnya village of Ujjain district of Madhya Pradesh. He was a history-sheeter and had several serious crimes registered against him. In 1995, 40 AK-47 assault rifles were seized from his residence and he was booked for arms smuggling. In the following years, he ran extortion racket and cases of extortion were registered against him by marble traders in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
 
In 2002, Sohrabuddin teamed up with Prajapati and killed his rival Hamid Lala. According to the CBI reports, he had threatened the Patni brother of Rajasthan-based R K Marbles in 2004 and had demanded heavy extortion. Beleaguered by the continuous harassment, the Marble Traders lobby from Gujarat and Rajasthan contacted the-then Gujarat home minister Amit Shah. A plan was hatched and orders were given to Vanzara. All this was said to have happened while there were no cases registered against Sohrabuddin in Gujarat.
 
According to the chargesheet filed against Vanzara, Vanzara contacted chief of Ahmedabad Crime Branch Abhay Chudasama and got a case registered against Sohrabuddin. Chudasama contacted Prajapati and asked him to call Sohrabuddin to Gujarat. Vanzara also allegedly met Prajapati and assured him that there would be no harm to Sohrabuddin.
 
According to the charge-sheet filed by the CBI, Sohrabuddin was on his way to Sangli in Maharashtra from Hyderabad, when their bus was intercepted by the anti-terrorist squad of Gujarat police. Police wanted only Sohrabuddin to get down from the bus. But, his wife too insisted on accompanying her husband. The police then took them to a farm house on the outskirts of Ahmedabad and killed in a fake encounter after three days. According to Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin, Kauser Bi was buried at Vanzara’s village after the encounter.
 
According to the Gujarat police, Sohrabuddin was hiding in Rajasthan before the encounter that took place at around 4 am on November 26, 2005 at the toll point at Vishala circle near Ahmedabad. The then superintendent of police with the Rajasthan police M N Dinesh and the Gujarat ATS chief D G Vanzara allegedly played an important role in the encounter. However, they are now let go by the court for lack of evidence.
 
According to the chargesheet Rubabuddin had also approached the Supreme Court over the alleged encounter of his brother when Chudasama allegedly offered him a huge sum to retract. When he declined the offer he was allegedly threatened for his life.
 
The case was transferred to Mumbai in September 2012 on the request of CBI for a fair trial. In 2013, the Supreme Court had clubbed the alleged fake encounter case of Prajapati with that of Soharabuddin. But, the Bombay High Court granted bail to Vanzara in September 2014, citing the lack of evidence.
 
Today, the CBI court too discharged the police officers for the same reason. 

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