The Bombay High Court on Wednesday began hearing arguments challenging the discharge of former Gujarat DIG DG Vanzara by the trial court in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh alleged fake encounter case of 2005. Gautam Tiwari, lawyer for Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin Shaikh, told the court that Vanzara was the mastermind of the conspiracy to kill Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram Prajapati. He claimed that Vanzara had summoned Police Sub-Inspector Ashish A Pandya, Special Operation Group, Palanpur, who was on vacation at that time, to take part in Tulsiram’s encounter.
According to CBI, Pandya was part of the police team involved in the alleged encounter on December 28, 2006 and Pandya also claimed to have sustained injury in cross fire. Justice AM Badar is hearing revision applications, three filed by Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin challenging the discharge of Vanzara and IPS officers Dinesh M N and Rajkumar Pandiyan, along with two applications filed by the CBI challenging the discharge of Rajasthan police constable Dalpat Singh Rathod and Gujarat police officer NK Amin. Tiwari argued that Vanzara was discharged by the trial court on August 1, 2017, on merits and on the ground of Section 197 (prosecution of judges and public servants) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Tiwari told the court that Vanzara was behind the modus operandi for killing Sohrabuddin, his wife Kausarbi and Tulsiram Prajapati. Tiwari further read the statements of Tulsiram’s nephew and of his co-inmates in Udaipur jail whom he met after his arrest following the encounter of Sohrabuddin. In the statement, the witnesses have said that Tulsiram told them that IPS officer Ajay Chudasama and Vanzara sought his help to locate Sohrabuddin. He was told that once Sohrabuddin is nabbed, he will be arrested and kept behind bars but instead he learnt that the cops killed him in an alleged encounter. Since then, Tulsiram was apprehending a danger to his life. He also told his co-inmates that he will also be killed in a fake encounter, since he was a witness to Sohrabuddin and Kausarbi’s abduction.
Tiwari told court that these disclosures should be considered as a dying declaration. Tiwari said that Parajapati was planted by Chudasama and Vanzara to check on the movements of Sohrabuddin. Tiwari told the court that the motorcycle seized by the cops, which was driven by Sohrabuddin during the alleged encounter, was owned by a person named Shokh Singh, cousin of constable Ajay Singh, attached to Gujurat ATS. Tiwari said that on the instruction of Vanzara, Kausarbi was taken to village Illol, Vanzara’s village, where she was killed.