CBI theory in Ishrat Jahan encounter case flawed says Vanzara
Former Gujarat IPS officer D G Vanzara's counsel sought to pick holes in the CBI's theory about the movement of car ferrying Ishrat Jahan and others who were killed in an alleged fake encounter.
Vanzara, an accused in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan encounter case, has filed a plea in a special CBI court here seeking his discharge in the matter.
His lawyer V D Gajjar told the court the CBI's theory about the movement of Ishrat's car following tyre burst was wrong because a re-construction of the scene had proved the vehicle moved towards the same direction as claimed by the local police at the time of the encounter.
After the conclusion of arguments from Vanzara's side today, special judge J K Pandya adjourned further hearing till June 30 when the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) would commence its arguments in the case.
Along with Vanzara, former Gujarat police officer N K Amin had approached the special court seeking discharge in the case. Arguments from both sides on Amin's plea have concluded and the court has reserved its order for June 30.
During today's hearing, Vanzara's lawyer referred to the CBI theory about the way in which Ishrat's car halted after the Ahmedabad Police fired on it during the chase.
The central agency has claimed the encounter in which Ishrat and three others were killed was "fake".
"To prove that the encounter was fake, the CBI had mentioned in the charge-sheet that the car, in which Ishrat and three others were travelling, halted on the right side of the road after a police commando fired on the rear-left tyre during the car chase. The CBI said the car should have halted on the left side," Gajjar told the court.
Citing a manual on vehicular movement, the CBI had concluded that the encounter was "fake" as it claimed the moving car should have drifted towards the left, not right, if gunshots were fired on it in a real gun-battle.
"The CBI claimed that since the car was found halted near the divider, that is on the right side, it was a fake encounter. But, during the reconstruction, when shots were fired in a similar way, the demo car halted on the right side, the same way as Ishrat's car had halted," Gajjar argued.
Vanzara's lawyer also sought parity with former in-charge DGP P P Pandey, who was an accused in the case, but his discharge application was allowed by the same court.
The CBI has opposed the discharge pleas of both Vanzara and Amin, the latter recently retired as a superintendent of police (SP).
Ishrat, a 19-year-old girl from Mumbai, along with three others - Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar - were killed by the police in an encounter on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004.
The Gujarat Police had claimed they had terror links and had plotted to kill the then chief minister Narendra Modi.
A Special Investigation Team (SIT), constituted by the Gujarat High Court, had concluded the encounter was "fake". Following this, the HC had transferred the case to the CBI.
In the first charge-sheet filed by the CBI in 2013, seven Gujarat police officers, including IPS officers P P Pandey, Vanzara and G L Singhal - were named accused. All were booked for kidnapping, murder and conspiracy, among others.
Vanzara was last year discharged in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati alleged fake encounter cases, which took place in 2005 and 2006 respectively, along with Rajasthan IPS officer Dinesh M N.