A special CBI court on Saturday reserved its order on the discharge application of former IPS officer D G Vanzara in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case. The court will pronounce the order on July 17. On the same day, the court is likely to pronounce the order on the discharge plea of co-accused retired superintendent of police N K Amin.
Appearing for the CBI, Special Public Prosecutor R C Kodekar opposed Vanzara’s plea, stating that “if enough material evidence had not been found, the investigating officer would not have charge-sheeted the accused” for the “fake” encounter. Kodekar referred to statements of several witnesses who “confirmed” the crime allegedly committed by the accused. He argued that “presence of accused applicant at the scene of illegal confinement of victims have been confirmed by several independent witnesses”.
Vanzara, on the other hand, claimed that none of the witnesses were reliable and their statements were “highly suspicious”. Vanzara claimed that out of the 19 accused policemen, 14 were present at the scene of the crime, yet the CBI booked only five of them while many turned witnesses. “The investigating officer is not vested with the power of pardon even during the course of the investigation,” Vanzara, who is out on bail, stated, arguing that charges cannot be framed based on the statements of accused who were “converted into witnesses”.
In his discharge plea, Vanzara also claimed that “the CBI actually wanted to target the then chief minister”. The special court has already discharged former Director General of Police P P Pandey in the encounter case.
The CBI had a charge sheet seven accused policemen, including Pandey, Vanzara, IPS officer G L Singhal, N K Amin, retired Deputy SP Tarun Barot among other policemen and four IB officers, including former special director Rajinder Kumar.