Former Gujarat ATS chief DG Vanzara was on Wednesday accused in the Bombay high court of being the “mastermind” of the “fake encounters” of alleged gangster Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife Kausar Bi and aide Tulsiram Prajapati.
The allegation was made by the counsel for Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin Shaikh during hearing of a plea against the discharge of senior IPS officers Dinesh MN, Rajkumar Pandian and Vanzara in the alleged fake encounter case.
Rubabuddin’s counsel Gautam Tiwari claimed before the bench of Justice AM Badar that Vanzara orchestrated the fake encounter killings.
“He was heading the Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad which abducted and killed Sohrabuddin and others. Though Vanzara himself wasn’t present at the site of the abduction or killings, it was under his instructions that his officers executed the plan. Vanzara was the mastermind…,” advocate Tiwari said.
Prajapati, who, as per the CBI, was an eye-witness to the killings of Shaikh and Kausar Bi, had narrated the whole episode to several prosecution witnesses, the lawyer said.
Tiwari read out statements of several persons who were the inmates of the Udaipur Central Prison when Prajapati was lodged there in 2006. Prajapati allegedly told many of them about the fake encounters, and the CBI later made them prosecution witnesses.
Prajapati had told them about the roles played by Vanzara and the other accused (now discharged), Tiwari said.
On several occasions, Prajapati had also said he himself might be killed at the behest of these officials, the lawyer added.
The statements made by Prajapati before these witnesses should be considered his ‘dying declaration’, which would form sufficient evidence to frame charges against the police officials, advocate Tiwari said.
Shaikh, a gangster with alleged terror links, and his wife Kausar Bi were killed in a suspected fake encounter by the Gujarat police in November 2005. Prajapati was killed in another alleged fake encounter by the Gujarat and Rajasthan police in December 2006.
The CBI had named 38 persons as accused. Between August 2016 and September 2017, the trial court in Mumbai has discharged 15 of them.
The CBI has challenged before the high court only the discharge granted to Gujarat police officer NK Amin and Rajasthan police constable Dalpat Singh Rathod.