DIG of crime branch D.G. Vanzara reportedly claimed he got the nod from Gujarat’s political leadership for the encounter.
The charge sheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case does not name Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the then junior Home Minister Amit Shah, but it contains a statement by a police witness saying that he had heard Crime Branch DIG D.G. Vanzara telling his junior that he had the sanction of political bosses for the encounter.
The charge sheet submitted on Wednesday has, as an annexure, this statement by Deputy Superintendent of Police (Crime Branch) D.H. Goswami under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code before an additional judicial magistrate of the Esplanade Court in Mumbai.
Mr. Goswami said that when he went to the Crime Branch office along with Superintendent of Police G.L. Singhal two days before the encounter, Additional Director-General of Police P.P. Pandey, Mr. Vanzara and Intelligence Bureau official Rajinder Kumar were present.
Mr. Goswami said he heard them discussing some Lashkar-e-Taiba operation, with Mr. Rajinder Kumar asking Mr. Vanzara to consult the Chief Minister.
‘White and black beards’
Mr. Vanzara said he would speak to safed dadhi (white beard), that is Mr. Narendra Modi, and kali dadhi (black beard), meaning Mr. Amit Shah. According to Mr. Goswami’s statement, two days later, hours before the encounter, when Mr. Singhal objected to the plan to kill Ishrat and others, Mr. Vanzara told him that he had the approval of the political bosses.
No charges against Kumar
The first charge sheet by the CBI has strong references to the role of Mr. Rajinder Kumar in the encounter, but it has not fixed charges against him.
It says that Mr. Kumar met Mr. Vanzara and Mr. Pandey at the government bungalow number 15 in Shahibaug to discuss the plan to eliminate Ishrat, Javed Shaikh, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar. Depicting the death as an encounter in the First Information Report was also discussed.
Call data records obtained by the CBI show that Mr. Kumar and Mr. Vanzara spoke with each other 37 times, often at odd times, during the week leading to the day of the encounter.
The IB official also spoke to Mr. Pandey 10 times.Though the charge sheet has called the encounter a “joint operation” by the IB and the Gujarat police, it has named only Mr. Vanzara and Mr. Pandey as the accused.