The Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday opposed bail application moved by suspended Indian Police Service officer D G Vanzara, an accused in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, saying he may tamper with evidence as he is "politically well-connected".
"The accused (D G Vanzara) being a highly influential and politically well-connected person, there is every chance that he may tamper with the evidence," said the reply filed by Investigating Officer P N Bose before the special CBI court Judge Geeta Gopi.
The court has posted the matter for further hearing on March 29.
Bose said Vanzara's release on bail could "jeopardise" the judicial process as he may "influence" witnesses. "D G Vanzara had played a prominent role in the murder of victims Zeeshan Johar, Amjad Ali, Javed Sheikh and Ishrat Zahan," Bose said in the reply. On his alleged role in confinement of the victims before the encounter, the CBI said, "Vanzara had performed guard duty on Amjad Ali at Arham farm which he, along with other co-accused, visited the place and interrogated them."
"After abducting Javed and Ishrat, they were confined in Khodiyar farm house at SG highway in Ahmedabad, during their confinement Vanzara along with other co-accused interrogated them," the reply said.
"On June 13, 2004, a conspiracy was hatched between Vanzara, former Additional Director General of Police P P Pandey and former IB director Rajinder Kumar to eliminate the detainees at Bunglow no 15 of Shahibaugh area," according to the reply.
The IO said, "In pursuance of the conspiracy, Vanzara directed another co-accused G L Singhal to visit subsidiary Intelligence Bureau office in Ahmedabad and collect the weapons, which were later used in the encounter."
"Vanzara had briefed the officer to execute the operation according to the draft complaint of the fake encounter," the reply said. The Central Bureau of Investigation had earlier revealed that the first information report of the Ishrat Jahan encounter case was pre-drafted one week prior to the killings.
The CBI has also raised question on Vanzara being lodged in Sabarmati jail instead of shifting his custody to Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai.
"On June 4 last year, he was sent to judicial custody at Sabarmati jail with the directions to the superintendent of the jail to send him back to Taloja jail," the reply said. "Despite there being a court order and a direction by Supreme Court, Vanzara is still lodged at Sabarmati Central Jail in Ahmedabad instead of shifting him to Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai," it said
The apex court had directed to hold the trial of the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case in Mumbai, and considering that, police was asked to shift Vanzara and co-accused there.
Ishrat Jahan,19, Pranesh Pillai (alias Javed Gulam Sheikh), Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were allegedly killed in a staged encounter by the crime branch of Ahmedabad police on June 15, 2004, on their alleged links with terrorists.
In its first chargesheet filed in July 2013, the CBI named Singhal, Vanzara, suspended IPS officers P P Pandey and Tarun Barot, N K Amin, retired Deputy Superintendent of Police J G Parmar and commando Anaju Chaudhary as accused in the case and slapped charges of murder and criminal conspiracy against them.
The CBI had said the encounter was fake and carried out jointly by the Gujarat police and IB. The CBI filed its second chargesheet in the case in February 2014. Vanzara, 59, a deputy inspector general rank officer, was subsequently suspended and put behind bars for his alleged involvement in a string of fake encounter cases.
Vanzara resigned from the service on September 1, 2013, accusing the Modi government of having failed to protect the interest of policemen jailed for encounter while implementing "conscious policy" of eliminating terrorism of the Gujarat government.