A special CBI court here on Thursday granted bail to former Gujarat police officer DG Vanzara in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan encounter case.
Mr. Vanzara, who is bailed out in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, is likely to walk out of jail after nearly eight years of incarceration.
Special CBI court judge KR Upadhyay granted bail on the grounds that Mr. Vanzara was unlikely to tamper with evidence and intimidate witnesses as the accused persons in the case were police officers.
“Considering the nature of evidence against [Mr. Vanzara] and the nature of investigation by the opponent CBI” and the likelihood of his absconding or tampering with the evidence or hampering with witnesses, “I am of the firm opinion that judicial discretion of granting bail needs to be exercised in favour of the present applicant and confining him in judicial custody till the end of the trial will not meet the ends of justice,” the order states.
Mr. Vanzara’s advocate VD Gajjar said the court considered the fact that a charge sheet was already filed in the case and there was no possibility of tampering with the witnesses.
“As for the supplementary charge sheet, it was not taken on record and the CBI failed to provide reasons for sparing Intelligence Bureau officials. Justice has been delayed but it has not been denied. Mr. Vanzara will see the light of day after seven and a half years,” Mr. Gajjar told The Hindu.
Mr. Vanzara’s bail condition involves a personal bond of Rs. 2 lakh. He is not allowed to enter Gujarat except on two working Saturdays in a month when he is required to be present in the CBI court.
The officer’s brother KG Vanzara who was present in court welcomed the order. “It is a happy day for me and the family. The entire State and country is happy. If we do not have officers fighting terrorism, then we will have a situation similar to that in Iraq and Pakistan,” he said.
The CBI’s case is that the encounter was fake and was carried out jointly by the Gujarat police and the Intelligence Bureau. Mr. Vanzara, who was assistant commissioner of police at the time of the incident, had contended that he was acting on the orders of his superiors and on IB inputs.