Retired IPS officer DG Vanzara walked out of the Sabarmati jail in Ahmedabad on Wednesday nearly eight years after he was jailed in connection with a series of encounter cases in Gujarat.
A grand reception from family and supporters greeted him when he stepped out of the jail around 12.30 p.m. In the jail premises itself, he was showered with garlands and petals as the crowed cheered “ Gujarat ka sher aya [Gujarat’s lion has come]” to loud beating of drums.
Addressing the media at the jail, Mr. Vanzara squarely denied the charges against him saying the encounters were not fake and that the Gujarat police was “targeted” in a national political conspiracy.
“The encounters were not fake. That is my legal stand. The offences registered and their investigation were fake, whether it was by the Criminal Investigation Department or any other agency. Mere registration of cases and collection of evidence is not a final thing. Till the charges are proved, the accused is innocent,” he said in response to a question.
“The Gujarat police took action as per the legal provisions. Action against terrorism is taken in all States, but only Gujarat police was targeted and Indian politics is responsible for that. I will not specify right now what kind of politics,” he said.
Had the Gujarat police not taken action, Mr. Vanzara said, “Gujarat would have turned into Kashmir and India would have had two Kashmirs.”
Declaring himself and all the police officers arrested in encounter cases innocent, Mr. Vanzara said, “I would have regrets if I had done anything wrong. All the officer acted as per the law. It is the duty of the police to protect the life and liberty of citizens.The Gujarat police was, is and will be innocent. We will continue to work in the interest of the country with the same energy.”
Mr. Vanzara dodged questions on his >controversial resignation letter of 2013 , which nearly indicted Prime Minister and then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, stating that he considered him “God” but was misguided by Amit Shah.
Asked to clarify his stand, Mr. Vanzara evasively said, “I do not live in the past or future; I live in the present."
To a question on whether he would join politics, he said, “I am in ‘ rashtraniti ’ [nation building], not ‘ rajniti’ [politics].”
Mr. Vanzara was released 13 days after he was granted bail in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case a special CBI court here on February 5. As per the bail conditions, he is not allowed to enter Gujarat. He left the Sabarmati jail in the afternoon for Mumbai by flight.
Mr. Vanzara was arrested by the CID in April 2007 in connection with the encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and was later indicted in the Tulsi Prajapati and Ishrat Jahan encounter cases.
A 1987-batch IPS officer, he was said to be close to Mr. Modi. Known as an encounter specialist during his service, he earned the sobriquet ‘Supercop”. He was the Deputy Commissioner of Police at the Ahmedabad Crime Branch at the time of the Ishrat Jahan encounter case.
He retired from service as Deputy Inspector General of Police in June 2014, while he was still in jail.
Mr. Vanzara would live in suburban Mumbai at his son Prithvi Vanzara’s apartment. His wife Gauriben Vanzara would be joining him in Mumbai. Family members expressed their happiness at his release after eight years.