Controversial Gujarat police officer D G Vanzara, an accused in Ishrat Jahan and Sohrabuddin encounter cases, on Wednesday walked out of Sabarmati Central Jail on bail after spending seven and half years in prison and was accorded a hero’s welcome with well-wishers garlanding him and bursting crackers.
After coming out of jail, a relieved Vanzara said, “Surely, acche din (good days) have returned for me and other Gujarat police officers” and attributed “extra legal political reasons” behind his stay in the jail.
He also claimed that cases against Gujarat police officers were fake and not encounters.
When the ex-IPS officer stepped out on Wednesday, he was received by hundreds of members of his community, his family members and all India anti-terrorist front crusader Maninderjeet Singh Bitta.
When Bitta along with Vanzara’s brother escorted the retired cop out of jail, his supporters burst crackers. He was garlanded by many people as he climbed up an SUV and addressed the gathering of mostly his community members in the jail compound.
Vanzara said he does not regret what he has done. He also claimed that police officers actually stopped Gujarat from turning into another Kashmir by conducting encounters of suspected terrorists.
“We would have regretted our action only if we had done anything wrong. But we have not done anything wrong. We are bound by the law and did everything in the interest of nation. We have actually stopped Gujarat from becoming Kashmir. If we have not carried out encounters, then Gujarat would not be a safer place,” claimed Vanzara.
The former DIG claimed that encounters conducted by him as well as other police officers of Gujarat were genuine but claimed that cases against them were ‘fake’.
Vanzara is an accused in the fake encounter cases of Ishrat Jahan (2004) and Soharabuddin Sheikh (2005).
“The encounters were not fake. The cases filed against officers and subsequent investigation made into the cases were certainly fake. Our actions were genuine. Since the cases are sub-judice, I don’t want to comment more...but my legal stand is that till charges are not proved, accused is innocent,” he said.
Vanzara was arrested on April 24, 2007 by CID crime in connection with the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, and since then he was behind the bars. He retired in jail in June last year.
“Police of every state in the country fought against terrorism. But Gujarat police was targeted by the previous political regime not for a day but for last eight years,” Vanzara said.
“The maximum number of encounters took place in Uttar Pradesh, while in Gujarat it was the least. But then also Gujarat police was targeted for extra legal political reasons,” he said.
A year back, Vanzara tendered his resignation and sent a 10-page letter to the state home department. In the letter, he had alleged that former state home minister Amit Shah was responsible for his situation. He even put Narendra Modi in the dock by saying that the then CM let him down by not rising to the occasion.
On Wednesday, when Vanzara was asked to clarify his stand against Shah and Gujarat Police, Vanzara preferred to just say that he doesn't live in the past.
“That was a different time. Let us not discuss the past. I live in the present (Kal ki baat purani ho gai). Whatever happened was a result of prevalent political scenario at that time in India. I hold no party or person responsible for what had happened,” said Vanzara.
“You (media) know better than me about why this happened with us. I hold the Indian political system responsible for that, not anyone in particular,” said Vanzara, who also added that actions against him and other officers have lowered the morale of Gujarat police as well as country.
Vanzara also said that he does not having any immediate plans of joining politics. As per court's order, Vanzara left for Mumbai on Wednesday afternoon, as the CBI court in Mumbai has granted him bail on the condition that he does not enter Gujarat.
He was deputy commissioner of police in the city crime branch, when Mumbra-based college girl Ishrat, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in an encounter with Gujarat police on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004.
The city crime branch had then said that those killed in the encounters were LeT terrorists and had landed in Gujarat to kill Modi.
Among those who came to receive him outside the jail included his wife Gauriben Vanzara and their son Prithvi.