Former Deputy Inspector General of Gujarat, D.G. Vanzara and Rajasthan IPS officer Dinesh M.N. were discharged on Tuesday by a CBI court in the alleged fake encounter case of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati in 2005.
The CBI charge sheet had said police officials of Gujarat and Rajasthan had entered into a conspiracy to kill gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh and abduct his wife Kauser Bi in 2005.
However, Judge Sunilkumar J. Sharma said, “Considering the quality of material on record against Mr. Vanzara and taking into consideration the entire prosecution story, it is clear that there is no prima facie material against him to connect him to the abduction followed by killing of Sohrabuddin, Kauser Bi and Tulsiram Prajapati .”
Mr. Vanzara who was the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Anti-Terrorism Squad, Gujarat and Mr. Dinesh, Superintendent of Police, Rajasthan in 2005 are also charged with killing Tulsiram Prajapati, who was accompanying Sohrabuddin.
“The CBI mostly relied on the statements of witnesses which are hearsay in nature. Even the statements of the co—accused do not in any way directly implicate the applicant (Vanzara),” the judge said.
The court said the prosecution did not say anything about Vanzara’s presence at the crime spot, and a mere conversation between him and Gujarat IPS officer Vipul Agarwal and inspector Ashish Pandya was not sufficient to establish his role in the killing of Prajapati.
“There is absolutely no iota of material as when, where and who killed Kausar Bi. There is also no material collected from the spot like sand, ash etc to say that her body was burnt,” the court said, referring to the CBI’s claim that her body was burnt after killing.
“It is seen from the entire record...that there is no sufficient evidence to indicate that there was a meeting of minds between accused (Vanzara) and the other accused to abduct and kill (Sheikh, Kausar Bi and Prajapati),” the court held.
In the absence of evidence of their involvement in any manner in the abduction followed by the killing, I am of the view that role attributed against the accused as reflected does definitely come within the sphere of discharge of their official duty, the court said.
Dinesh was granted bail in May 2014. He was promoted by the Rajasthan government to the post of Deputy Inspector General and then Inspector General with effect from May 9 the same year. He had served seven years in jail in connection with the alleged fake encounter killings.
In fact even the prosecution has not whispered presence of this accused at the spot on the date and time of abduction followed by the said killing. In view of such fact and in the absence of evidence of his involvement in any manner in the abduction followed by the killing of Kausar Bi and Tulisram Prajapati, I am of the view that the role attributed against Mr. Vanzara as reflected does definitely come within the sphere of discharge of his official duty. Consequently I hold that prior sanction to prosecute this accused was required as contemplated under Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Prosecution of Judges and public servants).”
The order said, “Admittedly prior sanction to prosecute against him needs to be dropped and it therefore stands dropped. The court also held, “Mere conversation between Vanzara at one side and Vipul Agarwal's and Ashish Pandya (both IPS officers from Gujarat) on other side is not sufficient to rope Mr Vanzara in the killing of Tulsiram Prajapati.”
The court noted, “The other documents like weekly diary letter panchanama as regard to the spot where dead body was burnt was not prima facie connect Mr Vanzara to the alleged killing of Kauser Bi. Infact there is absolutely no iota of material as when where and who killed Kauser Bi. There is also no material collected from the spot like sand, ash etc to say that dead body was burnt. It was obligatory for the investigating agencies to collect such material to establish the story of burning the dead body in the bed of the said river.”
It was taken on record, “In such circumstances presence of Mr Vanzara at the spot therefore in absence of any specified statement about details as to when and how he reached there is not worth of acceptance. It is seen from the entire record of the case that there is no sufficient evidence on facts to indicate that there was meeting of minds in between Mr Vanzara and the other accused to abduct and kill. The CBI mostly relies on statement of witnesses which are hearsay in nature which witnesses just state facts which they have learnt from the other co accused and somewhere else. Even the statements of the co accused do not in any way directly implicated the accused in the fake encounters.”
On discharging Dinesh, the court said, “Considering the quality of material on record against him and taking into consideration entire prosecution story, to my mind, it is clear that there is no prima facie material against him to connect him to killing of Sohrabuddin and Prajapati much less as one of the conspirator.”
The court also held that prior sanction was not sought for prosecuting him under Section 197 CrPC.
(With inputs from PTI)