Ishrat Jahan case: CBI wanted to arrest Modi, says Vanzara
In controversial claims, former Gujarat DIG DG Vanzara told a court yesterday that the CBI wanted to arrest then CM Narendra Modi and then Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case. However, "fortunately" it didn't happen, Vanzara's counsel VD Gajjar said. Vanzara had earlier said Modi had been questioned when he was CM, a claim the CBI has denied.
About the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case
In 2004, Ahmedabad Crime Branch officials gunned down 19-year-old Ishrat Jahan along with her friend Javed Sheikh, and two Pakistani citizens Jishan Johar and Amjad Rana. Officials claimed they had received intelligence that the four were linked to Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, and were planning a suicide attack on Modi. But CBI later concluded the encounter was fake, conducted in a joint-operation with IB.
Who all were named in the CBI chargesheet?
In the first CBI chargesheet in 2013, seven Gujarat police officers, including PP Pandey, Vanzara, NK Amin and GL Singhal, were named. They were charged with kidnapping, murder and conspiracy. Pandey got bail after 16 months in prison. In 2016, he returned to the state's police force as DGP. Vanzara and Amin have since filed discharge petitions. Amin's hearing ended in May.
Vanzara, others "planned" FIR hours before encounter: CBI
According to the CBI, on June 14, 2004, Vanzara held a meeting with Singhal at his office. There, they drafted an FIR against Jahan and the others, merely hours before the encounter, with its contents already "planned." Retired Deputy SP DH Goswami had also claimed he had heard Vanzara say that "approval of killing (them) was given by 'kali dadhi' and 'safed dadhi'."
CBI arrested and exonerated people without following procedure: Vanzara's counsel
Arguing for Vanzara's discharge, his counsel Gajjar said the CBI intended to arrest "kali dadhi" (Shah) and "safed dadhi" (Modi), but couldn't do that, and arrested "lal dadhi" (Vanzara) instead, "based on a concocted story." About Goswami's statement, Gajjar argued he couldn't have heard Vanzara speaking, as the subordinate officer couldn't have gone to the then DCP's chambers without permission.
Next hearing in the matter on June 15
The CBI had given a clean chit to Shah in 2014, claiming there was "insufficient evidence." Pandey was the first to be discharged. Vanzara is out on bail. The next hearing in the case is on June 15.