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Vanzara ‘gives leads’ in Pandya murder case

However,Khan had later denied it. Pandya was murdered on March 26,2003.

Suspended IPS officer and prime accused in three encounter cases D G Vanzara is learnt to have given some leads to the CBI in the Haren Pandya murder case during his questioning in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati encounter cases. Vanzara was questioned in the Sabarmati Central jail for nearly five hours on Friday where he reportedly told the agency that Pandya’s murder was the outcome of a “political conspiracy”.

Jagruti Pandya,widow of former Home minister of Gujarat Haren Pandya,had met CBI officers in Delhi recently with a plea to have Vanzara questioned in connection with her husband’s assassination and its possible link with the Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram encounter cases. An aide of Sohrabuddin,Azam Khan,had given a statement on the possible link of these encounters with Haren Pandya’s killing. However,Khan had later denied it.

Pandya was murdered on March 26,2003. The case is being probed by the CBI,which took over after preliminary investigation by the Ahmedabad Crime Branch,where Vanzara was the then DCP.

The CBI made major arrests in the case,all of whom,including Asgar Ali,the sharpshooter from Hyderabad who is said to have killed Haren Pandya,were acquitted by the Gujarat High Court,raising questions on the investigation.

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Jagruti has alleged that Vanzara was in the know of the conspiracy and that the family of her husband’s murder’s mastermind Mufti Sufiyaan Patangiya escaped with his aide. Patangiya is wanted in the case and is learnt to be in West Asia.

Jagruti said,“We had requested the CBI several times to question the Gujarat Police officers in the case. When Vanzara gave his resignation letter,I spoke to CBI officers to ask him about the conspiracy because Vanzara was one of the officers who knew the plot behind elimination of Haren Pandya in detail.”

A source in the CBI said,“Vanzara was not directly questioned about Haren Pandya’s murder. He chose to talk about the murder while talking about operations he had carried out that involved encounter cases. He gave details of involvement of political hands in his ‘ISI conspiracy cases’ and encounters in Gujarat.”

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The ISI conspiracy case was an umbrella case made out by the crime branch to cover five riot reprisal cases,including Pandya’s murder,blaming the Pakistani agency for these crimes. However,a sessions court acquitted all nine accused in this case in 2010.

Vanzara,during his questioning a day earlier,had pointed fingers at Amit Shah saying that the former Home minister was in the loop after the intelligence inputs arrived in encounter cases and when ISI conspiracy was suspected behind terror attacks.

Source in the CBI added that Vanzara claimed to have discussed the alleged ISI backing of terror attacks in Gujarat with the Chief Minister’s office and “informed Narendra Modi about the LeT attacks through Shah”.

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Meanwhile,Vanzara on Friday wrote to the state Home department seeking Z+ security cover instead of the present Z category. The state government reportedly decided that his security should be increased to Z+ whenever he goes to courts,hospitals or any area outside the jail in Gujarat and Maharashtra.

ACS Home S K Nanda denied this,saying,“Vanzara already has Z+ security and we have told the Maharashtra Police to ensure that he gets Z+ over there when he moves to courts,hospital. We have not received any letter from him nor has his security been increased.”

First published on: 22-09-2013 at 03:27:07 am
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