D. G. Vanzara

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Dahyaji Gobarji Vanzara is the former Deputy Inspector General for Gujarat, India. He was jailed from 2007 to until his bail in 2015 on charges of having conducted a series of extrajudicial killings ("false encounter")[1] while heading the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS).[2]

Cases[edit]

An IPS officer of the 1987 batch, his tenure as head of the city crime bureau saw a spurt in encounter killings. He was known to be close to Home Minister Amit Shah, who made 331 calls to Vanzara and other police officers, many of them around the time of these killings.[3][4]

The suspect killings include:

  • Sameer Khan (shot dead Sep 2002) [5]
  • Ishrat Jahan and three others (shot dead 15 June 2004)
  • Sohrabuddin Sheikh (shot dead Nov 2005)
  • Sheikh's wife Kausar Bi (poisoned and body burned in Vanzara's farmhouse)[6]
  • Tulsiram Prajapati (killed in December 28, 2006).
  • Sadik Jamal (killed 2003)

As of September 2013, there were 32 police officers, including six IPS officers who were on jail for these encounters.[7] Most of them had worked under Vanzara.

These officers were also among those who had been highly rewarded under Modi and Shah. Vanzara himself had a meteoric rise since the early 2000s, when the encounters to eliminate 'terrorists' began.[8]

In his 2013 letter of resignation, Vanzara has stated,

The CID/CBI arrested my officers and me holding us responsible for carrying out allegedly fake encounters. If that is true, then the CBI investigating officers for all four cases have to arrest the policy formulators too as we, being field officers, have simply implemented the policy of this government, which was inspiring, guiding and monitoring our actions from very close quarters.

[7]

Indeed, there is considerable evidence that Vanzara had been carrying out home minister Amit Shah's orders on these killings.[citation needed] On May 18, 2008, ex-DSP N.K. Amin, also arrested in the case, told the court "that a police-politician-criminal nexus was in operation in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case."[9] The high level of direct communication from Shah, as minister, to an on-duty officer has also been questioned in court.[10]

In the Tulsiram Prajapati case, the encounter killing took place in Banaskantha district. Just 13 days earlier, Vanzara was surprisingly transferred there as DIG Border range. On questioning, Amit Shah could not remember why.[11] Shah has indicted as the "kingpin and prime accused"[12] in the Tulsiram Prajapati murder case.

Vanzara's letter also refers to political mileage obtained from the killings. In the 2007 elections, Modi had asked the electorate as to what was to be done with people like Sohrabuddin, to thunderous responses of "Kill him!"[13]

In September 2013, after six years in prison, Vanzara, who calls himself a "nationalist Hindu"[14] and looks upon Narendra Modi as "god",[15] has become disgruntled. He is said to have suggested a connection between the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case and the unsolved murder of ex-BJP minister Haren Pandya,[16] who at one time a minister under Narendra Modi. Pandya was shot dead while out on a morning walk in March 2003, a year after his fallout with Modi. In 2003, it was Vanzara who had originally investigated the Pandya murder.[17] Similar claims have also been made by the DNA newspaper,[18] which has suggested that Sheikh was eliminated because of his links to the political murder of Pandya.

Vanzara was released on bail on 18 February 2015.[19]

Works[edit]

Poetry books[edit]

While in jail, Vanzara has written three books of Gujarati poetry, Viyapath, Sinh Garjana and Rann Tankar.[20] The books are dedicated to the guru, Asaram Bapu.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Subhash Gatade (September 21, 2013). "Modi's 'Vanzara' Moment: Encounter Killings as State Policy". Mainstream. 
  2. ^ "Who is DG Vanzara?". NDTV. August 2, 2010. 
  3. ^ "India's Independent Weekly News Magazine". Tehelka. Retrieved 8 May 2012. 
  4. ^ http://news.rediff.com/special/2010/jul/23/explained-what-cbi-summons-to-amit-shah-in-sohrabuddin-encounter-case-means.htm
  5. ^ http://archive.tehelka.com/story_main30.asp?filename=Ne190507Fake_killingsCS.asp
  6. ^ Ashish Khetan and Harinder Baweja (2007-05-12). "Death by Firing Squad". Tehelka. 
  7. ^ a b http://www.indianexpress.com/news/-modi-was-my-god-amitbhai-usurped-his-eyes-and-ears-/1164159/
  8. ^ Premal Balan (September 6, 2013). "Newsmaker: Dahyabhai Gobarji Vanzara supercop's resentment explodes". Business Standard. 
  9. ^ Lyla Bavadam (2010-10-08). "Dreaded group". Frontline. 
  10. ^ "'If police control and command were not violated, Amit Shah would not be in this mess'". rediff.com. July 23, 2010 Gujarat High Court lawyer Anand Yagnik: Amit Shah cannot answer [why], when there are other authorities in the police structure between Shah and the ATS chief DG Vanzara and police officer Rajkumar Pandian, how and why should he talk to them directly?.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  11. ^ Vinay Kumar (January 10, 2012). "CBI to question Amit Shah again in Prajapati case". The Hindu. 
  12. ^ http://www.indianexpress.com/news/tulsiram-prajapati-encounter-cbi-names-amit-shah-as-kingpin/1004520/
  13. ^ "Modi justifies Sohrabuddin's encounter". rediff.com. December 5, 2007.  Snippet: Addressing an election meeting at Mangrol in South Gujarat yesterday, Modi questioned the crowd as to what should have been done to a man who dealt with illegal arms and ammunition, to which it shouted back "kill him".
  14. ^ http://www.ahmedabadmirror.com/printarticle.aspx?page=comments&action=translate&sectid=2&contentid=2013090420130904030303562a3d65975&subsite=
  15. ^ PTI (Sep 3, 2013). "DG Vanzara on Narendra Modi: My 'god' has betrayed me". Times of India. 
  16. ^ "DG Vanzara sings about Haren Pandya murder, says it was political conspiracy: CBI". Times of India. September 21, 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  17. ^ Vinod K Jose (March 2012). "The Emperor Uncrowned : The rise of Narendra Modi". Caravan magazine. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  18. ^ "Was it Tulsiram Prajapati who killed Haren Pandya?". DNA (newspaper). August 30, 2011. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  19. ^ Shaikh, Sarfaraz (2015-02-18). "Ache din are back: Vanzara after release". The Times of India. Retrieved 2015-05-15. 
  20. ^ "In jail, Vanzara ‘roars’ with two more books". Indian Express. Retrieved 2015-05-15. 
  21. ^ Bhattacharji, Shantanu (2013-09-05). "Vanzara's letter bomb may change political equations in Gujarat". Business Standard News. Retrieved 2015-05-15.