Mumbai: Former IPS officer of Gujarat, DG Vanzara, was granted bail by the Bombay High Court in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case on Thursday.
Vanzara was arrested on April 24, 2007, along with two other IPS officers Rajkumar Pandian and Dinesh MN, in connection with the alleged staged encounter killing of gangster Sheikh, who was claimed to have links to Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba. Sheikh's wife Kausar Bi was also alleged to have been killed by the Gujarat police.
Justice AM Thipsay ordered the release of Vanzara on a bond of Rs two lakh and one surety of the like amount or a bond of Rs one lakh and two sureties of the same amount, whichever suited him.
The judge asked Vanzara to surrender his passport to CBI and present himself before the trial court in Mumbai every Monday, Wednesday and Friday till the hearing of the case concludes.
Vanzara was also warned against tampering with evidence or threatening witnesses. In case he wants exemption from appearance, he will have to give prior notice to the trial court, said Justice Thipsay while granting bail.
Vanzara was the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) of Border Range at the time of his arrest.
He retired on May 31, 2014 after 34 years of service. Vanzara had joined the police service as a Deputy Superintendent of Police in 1980 and was promoted as an IPS officer in 1987.
The CBI in its complaint had said that Vanzara had led a team which was involved in the killings.
According to CBI, Sohrabuddin and his wife were abducted by Gujarat's Anti-Terrorism Squad when they were on way from Hyderabad to Sangli in Maharashtra and killed in an alleged staged encounter near Gandhinagar in November 2005.
Two alleged Pakistani nationals were also said to be killed in the same encounter.
Tulsiram Prajapati, an eyewitness to the encounter, was also allegedly killed by police in a fake encounter at Chapri village in Banaskantha district of Gujarat in December 2006.
Taking into account the alleged threat to witnesses, the Supreme Court had transferred the case from Ahmedabad to Mumbai to ensure a fair trial.
Earlier this year some of his junior officers, including Abhay Chudasama and Rajkumar Pandian were granted bail by the court.
The former IPS officer had blamed the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi for not helping him and other police officers who were being accused of the cases.
Vanzara had famously called Modi the 'God' who was under the influence of the former Gujarat home minister Amit Shah and the present BJP president.
He had also blamed Shah for using and making him and other police officers.
In his 10-page explosive resignation letter addressed to Additional Chief Secretary (Home) dated September 1, 2013 Vanzara, lodged in Sabarmati Central Jail then, had said that the accused officers and men "simply implemented the conscious policy" of the state government.
Vanzara also said that if policemen could be sent to jail for alleged fake encounters, the place of the state government "should either be in Taloja central prison at Navi Mumbai or in Sabarmati Central Prison at Ahmedabad."
He has also blamed Shah for shifting Sorabuddin Sheikh encounter killing case outside Gujarat.
"The crux of the whole matter is that it was just to facilitate his trivial personal interest of fighting Gujarat Assembly Elections of 2012 that Amit Shah got the trial (Soharabuddin encounter case) transferred and betrayed our trust reposed in him whereby he forced us to suffer more and more," Vanzara had written.
"I have been maintaining my graceful silence for such a long period only and only because of my supreme faith in and highest respect for Chief Minister Narendra Modi whom I used to adore like God," he had added.
However, he had also expressed his frustration with Modi, saying, "But I am sorry to state that my God could not rise to the occasion under the evil influence of Amit Shah who usurped his eyes and ears and has been successfully misguiding him by converting goats into dogs and dogs into goats since last 12 years."
Meanwhile, Vanzara will remain in jail for now regarding the Prajapati and Ishrat Jahan case.
Shah was also chargesheeted by the investigating agency. Later he was granted bail.
With Agency inputs