Sohrabuddin Sheikh case: CBI court cites lack of evidence, gives clean chit to DG Vanzara

The court held that there was “no prima facie material” to connect D G Vanzara and Dinesh to the offence, and the CBI had not obtained sanction to prosecute them. With this, 15 of the 38 accused have either been dropped or discharged from the case.

Written by Sadaf Modak | Mumbai | Updated: August 2, 2017 8:28 am
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Citing lack of evidence, a special CBI court on Tuesday discharged retired IPS officer and former Gujarat ATS chief D G Vanzara and Rajasthan-cadre IPS officer Dinesh MN in the case related to the death of gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh, who was allegedly killed in a fake encounter. Vanzara was also discharged in the deaths of Sheikh’s wife, Kausar Bi, and associate, Tulsiram Prajapati.

The court held that there was “no prima facie material” to connect Vanzara and Dinesh to the offence, and the CBI had not obtained sanction to prosecute them. With this, 15 of the 38 accused have either been dropped or discharged from the case.

The CBI had submitted that since the men had exceeded their official call of duty, there was no need to obtain sanction to prosecute them. The CBI had alleged that
Sheikh was killed in a staged encounter by a team of Gujarat and Rajasthan police.

In November 2005, Sheikh was traveling in a Sangli-bound bus from Hyderabad, with Kausar Bi and Prajapati. A police team is reported to have forced them to get off the bus and taken them to Ahmedabad. Sheikh was alleged to have been killed first in a fake encounter, while Kausar Bi and Prajapati, who witnessed the incident, were reportedly killed later.

The court on Tuesday held that there was no material on Kausar Bi’s murder. “In fact, there is absolutely no iota of material as to when, where and who killed Kausar Bi. There is also no material collected from the spot like sand, ash, etc to say that dead body was burnt. It was obligatory for the investigating agency to collect such material to establish the story of burning the dead body in the bed of the said river,” observed the court.

The Gujarat CID, which initially investigated the case, had claimed that Kausar Bi’s body was burnt and the ashes were thrown in the Narmada river near Bharuch.

On Vanzara, the court said there was nothing to connect him to the abduction and the subsequent killings. “In fact, even the prosecution has not whispered (on) the presence of this accused at the spot, on the date and time of abduction, followed by the killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, Tulsiram Prajapati and Kausar Bi,” the court observed.

It further said that the CBI has relied on statements of witnesses, which are “hearsay” in nature, who have stated facts learnt from other co-accused or somewhere else. “It is seen from the entire record of the case that there is no sufficient evidence on facts to indicate that there was meeting of minds between accused and the other accused to abduct and kill… Even their (witness) statements, do not in any way directly implicate the accused in the fake encounters,” the court observed.

It said the role attributed to the accused comes within the sphere of discharge of his official duty. “Consequently, I hold that prior sanction to prosecute this accused was required as contemplated under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code,” the court said. It also said that “mere conversation” between Vanzara and other police officials “is not sufficient” to charge him with killing Prajapati.

On Dinesh’s role, the court said, “Considering the quality of material on record against Dinesh and taking into consideration entire prosecution story, to my mind, it is clear that there is no prima facie material against this applicant to connect him to the killing of Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram, much less as one of the conspirator.”

Reacting to the court’s decision, Vanzara was quoted as saying that truth had finally prevailed. “I have been saying since the beginning that all these encounters were genuine. They were not fake. Now, when I am finally discharged by the court, it is now established that I was framed in false cases. This judgment vindicated my stand about encounters,” Vanzara told PTI.

“Whatever happened in the past is now past. I do not want to say anything about it. I just want to say thanks to the judiciary, which had always been fair to me. Though justice is delayed, it is not denied,” said Vanzara, who was released on bail in 2015.

“It was indeed very painful to spend almost eight years behind bars. It was nothing short of torture. I lost eight golden years behind bars and also retired during my imprisonment. But, I have left everything behind now. Past is past. I take life positively,” he said.

“I have a very high regard for judiciary, as I was given relief by it in the past too. I am sure that I will get similar justice in the Ishrat case. I am also confident that other officers would get justice eventually,” he said.

Vanzara is still facing murder charges in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, as the trial is still pending.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Sohrabuddin’s brother, Rubabuddin Shaikh, said he had lost faith in the judiciary. “What was the CBI doing all this while,” he asked.

He accused the central agency of working at the behest of the government. “How can someone who has spent years in jail be discharged like this on a technicality,” he said, adding that he would move the higher court and his “legal battle” would continue.

The court had on Monday rejected the discharge plea of two Rajasthan police officials. They, along with 21 others, will face a trial for the deaths. The CBI court is likely to frame charges against them on August 9.

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  1. R
    ramesh gupta
    Aug 3, 2017 at 8:53 pm
    Courts have to decide on the basis of what facts and evidence is produced beforeit. as regards difference in approach of UPA and NDA towards CBI..... local slang of Delhi...sub chor hain
    Reply
    1. B
      Bobby
      Aug 3, 2017 at 7:30 am
      Caged Parrot can only allow criminals to go out and commit more and more crimes.
      Reply
      1. S
        Sri
        Aug 3, 2017 at 6:47 pm
        Was it any different during UPA rule ? For further details go into Samjauta Express treachery of Congress
        Reply
      2. S
        Shorsharaba
        Aug 3, 2017 at 7:26 am
        All Murderers involved in Fake Encounters out. All Murderers in Vyapam Scam Out. All Mass murderers in Gujarat Massacre out. All Terrorists in Melgaon and many other Terror attack out. The BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa and his family members have been acquitted in a Rs 40-crore bribery case given clean chit by CBI court. If this is not a Jungle Raj then what is called Jungle and Gunda Raj.
        Reply
        1. S
          Sri
          Aug 3, 2017 at 6:54 pm
          What about Samjautha express, Ishrat Jahan and 26/11 . when the Treacherous Congress I started their "Hindu Terror " nonsense ? All Murderers involved in Fake Encounters out. All Murderers in Coinbatore Blasts out. All Mass murderers in Delhi anti-Sikh massacre out. All Terrorists in Melgaon and many other Terror attack out. The Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and family members have been acquitted in a Rs 2000-crore National Herald case given clean chit by CBI court. Every thing is coming out in the open and the aged parrot is able to fly and sing.
          Reply
          1. C
            Chandu Shah
            Aug 4, 2017 at 12:34 am
            What do you expect from Gandhi Khan family
        2. D
          Dmk
          Aug 2, 2017 at 7:39 pm
          Bail to Maya Kondnani, Relief to Amit shah not to appear in court, acquittal to Sadhvi Prgya Singh Thakur, acquittal to Prohit, AND Execution of ONLY Yakub Menon... PERFECT...
          Reply
          1. S
            Sri
            Aug 3, 2017 at 6:58 pm
            Bail to Sajjan Kumar, relief to Jagdish Tytler not to appear in court, acquitted Safdar Nagori, accusing RSS of 26/11 , falsely implicating Sadhvi Pragya SinghThakur and Col Shrikant Purohit , when no evidence was available, Malegaon Blasts took place in 2007 and UPA lost power in 2014 May - what did they do during 7 1/2 years ????What about execution of Afzal Guru ......... PERFECT
            Reply
          2. D
            Dmk
            Aug 2, 2017 at 7:30 pm
            Don't worry Dear Criminals, YOU all will be set FREE by BJP to arrange further killings by wearing POLICE uniforms... Sab ke sath sab ka satyanash...
            Reply
            1. S
              Sri
              Aug 3, 2017 at 7:00 pm
              Don't worry Dear Muslim Criminals, YOU all were set FREE by Congress I to arrange further killings by wearing POLICE uniforms... Sab ke sath sab ka satyanash...and now you are paying for it. Burhan wani, Bhatt, Dujana This success did not happen during Congress I regime . Same soldiers , same intellegence yet ...... no progress, wonder why ???
              Reply
            2. V
              vatsal
              Aug 2, 2017 at 5:18 pm
              All India Corruption Khangress had spent a decade in trying to implicate"Police Officers" , "Home Ministry Officials" who were trying to uphold the nation and who chose to oppose anti-national designs of whosoever it may be. During the "Khangress decade" - concepts to paint Hindu Police Officials, Hindu Army Officials as "communal" or part of "saffron terror" was the objective. Dr. Zakir Naik was being acclaimed as new "Dr. Zakir Hussain" - fit to be President of the country and Islamise the country. Luckily the people saw through the designs of the "sickular" and overthrew extra-terriorial-masters who were running the Government. Skeletons are tumbling now. Unfortunately many had to pay the price for this kind of Khangressism. Mr. Vanjara has been one such victims.
              Reply
              1. D
                Dmk
                Aug 2, 2017 at 7:33 pm
                What do you expect from the Bachelors Party. It has to arrange all criminals from Sadhvi to Banjara ... free... to arrange further crimes against society. Good luck
                Reply
                1. S
                  Sri
                  Aug 3, 2017 at 7:02 pm
                  What do you expect from the Bachelors Party. It has to arrange all criminals from Nagori to Bhatkal ... free... to arrange further crimes against society. Good luck
              2. K
                KS
                Aug 2, 2017 at 3:30 pm
                CBI has been investigating this case since the UPA time. If they couldn't do the job of constructing the evidences properly when the Govt of the day was bent on framing these officers, either they are inefficient or the case itself is falsely fabricated. However, the fact remains that three people had been murdered, immaterial they were bad individuals. Cries for justice from their side would remain unanswered We must ask ourselves if it is okay to quickly mete out punishments in this manner short circuiting the lengthy judicial process. Of course, we have felt angry with our slow corrupt judiciary and felt the need for punishing the culprits quickly by other means as we long for prompt closures. This would remain one of the perennial dilemmas in our system until such time our judiciary is straightened from corruption and trials are taken up completed promptly. Look at 2G cases. Even now, accused are roaming free! They may be acquitted also!!
                Reply
                1. L
                  Linzhi
                  Aug 2, 2017 at 10:23 am
                  the party in power has mastered the art of destroying evidence
                  Reply
                  1. S
                    Sri
                    Aug 3, 2017 at 7:04 pm
                    Congress i is not in power. What happened to the files pertaining to defective Bullet proof jackets worn by Hemant Karkare , Adarsh Housing scam , Bofors , Ishrat Jahan revised pe ion and Vadra Land scam ?
                    Reply
                    1. C
                      Chandu Shah
                      Aug 4, 2017 at 12:35 am
                      What do you expect from Gandhi Khan family
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