Now 4 questions haunt Vanzara-post resignation letter controversy
The full contents of the Vanzara Resignation letter can be found on the websites of most media outlets. In his letter Mr Vanzara particularly targeted the state's former junior home minister Amit Shah for betrayal and treachery while also being critical of the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
The Vanzara Letter triggered a predictable storm of schizophrenic reactions across Delhi's media ranging from how the Congress was now going to attack the Gujarat CM and if this issue was in anyway going to impact the Gujarat CM's projection at the Center.
A careful reading of the Letter throws open the below questions some of which were posed on Social Media by Legal Experts who have been closely following the Gujarat Encounter Cases in the Courts.
- Who drafted the resignation letter for Mr Vanzara in perfect English, without a mistake of even a comma? This could not have been done by Mr Vanzara himself.
- Mr Vanzara's lawyer said that he was also unaware of the letter and he came to know about it only through the media.
- Why did Mr Vanzara choose to release the letter now since as recently as last month after the interrogation by Abhin Modak (who probed Adarsh Housing Scam) the media was informed that Mr. Vanzara was "cooperative".
- It is noteworthy that Mr Vanzara has been in jail for last seven years, while other officers who ‘cooperated' with CBI are released on bail.
Here is a brief snapshot of what prominent people had to say on this matter across New Delhi's Television Studios:
Anand Yagnik who is an advocate while talking to the TIMES NOW said that he would not take the resignation letter at the face value. This is a letter written by a person behind bars and he has been charge-sheeted after a thorough investigation. This man is writing a letter about his political bosses and we need to investigate if the letter is genuine or not.
Mr Yagnik added that as Vanzara did not give his statement before a magistrate we cannot give this letter a stamp of bona fide. He added that this was a political issue but nonpolitical people like him also should get a chance have a say on this matter.
Gujarat Congress spokesperson Dr Ami Yagnik said that there was no question of opportunism by the Congress. The letter is written by a top cop who has been in jail for six years and he had done all the work at the behest of his political bosses. She added that Vanzara has a lawyer so the letter cannot be fake.
When asked why was the Congress against sting operations in the context of the cash-for-votes scandal and not now, when a journalist conducted a sting operation against BJP office bearers, she failed to give a convincing explanation.
Who drafted letter for Vanzara in perfect English?
RB Shreekumar former Gujarat state DGP while talking to TIMES NOW claimed that the letter was a valid document while alleging that Mr Vanzara was a part of a mafia and the letter was evidence for the same. Mr Shreekumar's bizarre comments make one wonder if he was helping or hurting his arguments against the Gujarat Government for if Mr. Vanzara was part of a mafia as alleged by Mr. Shreekumar how credible then are the allegations in Mr. Vanzara's letter ?
Gagan Sethi the Managing trustee of Jan Vikas, an NGO in Ahmedabad participating in the TIMES NOW debate attempted to make this about the larger issue of Law and Order in Gujarat while failing to point how an encounter in 2004 was even germane to the state of Law and Order nine years later in Gujarat.
Jay Narayan Vyas, Cabinet Minister in the BJP ministry of Gujarat state and in charge of Health and Family Welfare, Co-ordination of voluntary Organizations and Non Resident Gujarati Division, told TIMES NOW that if someone under police custody or any kind of custody gives any statement it is not taken as valid proof in the court of law.
He brought to the notice how under the influence of the CBI, based on past precedents, undertrials are suddenly released on bail after a quid pro quo between the undertrial and the CBI. He said that the document may have been drafted under duress from the investigating agency. He further added that presently the coal scandal is on so the Congress is desperately looking for diversionary tactics.
Meenakshi Lekhi, the national spokesperson of BJP, while talking to the TIMES NOW asked to pay attention to what Vanzara said about the officers not allowing Gujarat to become Kashmir. This way Vanzara was suggesting that there was an attempt to radicalize Gujarat and he and other police officers were playing their assigned duties at the time. She also pointed out that there were eight encounters in Gujarat that were alleged to be fake whereas there were far more in other states like 213 in Uttar Pradesh alone.
She also added that the rule of law in India could not be different only for the state of Gujarat while commenting on how the UPA Government refused to petition the Supreme Court to investigate Encounter Cases in other states. She also pointed out that this was not a case of police and the government falling out but one of Political Interference in a state by the center.
She also said that the letter came from a police officer who was rightly or wrongly denied bail by the CBI and the letter exposes the game-plan of the Congress because since last 10 years they have found nothing to prove against Modi in encounters or otherwise.
While talking to CNN IBN Madhu Kishwar, academician, writer and women's rights activist said that the letter written by Vanzara needs to be read more carefully as the CBI did practice legal third degree on many such officers to make them go against the government.
Those who started singing against the government were given bail illegally and those who did not were not given bail. She also added that the CBI was misused by Congress. She added that Mr Vanzara was in jail in Congress ruled Maharashtra where the case is now under trial leading one to wonder if it is deliberately going slow on the case to keep officers under pressure.
She also argued that if the same criterion were to be followed then former Home Minister Chidambaram will have to answer for Batla House encounter and current J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah would have to answer for human rights violations in his state. Also if fake encounters are the only criterion to judge Chief Ministers she asked what about the other states ?
Rana Ayyub, a journalist, suggested that the letter was genuine and asked Madhu Kishwar what was her opinion as women right activist as to how Kausar Bi was killed and if she was also a terrorist.
Prashant Bushan, a lawyer, suggested that in each of the cases if the CBI is striking deals with the people in prison sooner or later the truth will come out. Till now no truth is out.
Journalist Bhupendra Chaubey said that the letter had stunned the BJP leadership into silence and the BJP seems to be on back foot at the moment.
Putting all of this in to perspective Lawyer and Commentator Kartikeya Tanna pointed out that in Mr. Vanzara's letter both the advance copy and the actual copy were sent to the CBI Director in Delhi for "kind information and necessary action" raising more questions on the timing and the motives behind the release of the letter.
The entire discussion can be summed up with what Journalist and Columnist Ashok Malik had to say on the issue. He said that the culture of staged encounters was omnipresent across states and governments in India and that this should be tackled in a wholistic manner rather than through selective outrage against one state and one Chief Minister.
He felt that the entire episode will have no impact on the Gujarat Chief Minister politically for there would be no loss or gain of supporters overnight. He said that most people had already made up their minds on the Gujarat Chief Minister, one way or the other and that the Vanzara Letter was inconsequential and irrelevant to their opinions of him.
NDTV Debate : Buck stops here (on subversion of judicial process in the Prajapati case AND the letter):
Jai Narain Vyas: Congress also knows that its opinion has no value because the CD is not in public domain there is an ongoing investigation and if they are so confident they could have presented it to the investigating authority but not at a hastily called press conference. So why the ruckus? I think the Congress also knows that it has no value except for getting some political mileage. I am not making a comment on its veracity simply saying it is not in the public domain. If it is accepted for the investigation it will first have to go through various tests to make sure it is genuine. How are you jumping to a conclusion based on something whose genuineness has not been proven yet? (about the multiple vakalatnamas referred to by Prashant Bhushan): I stick to my argument that if you feel it is genuine since investigations are on why don't you present it to the investigation authorities? That is the right platform. What is so unusual about the senior admin of the staff with a junior police officer? You have to see such calls in the entire perspective.
(Letter): This is Vanzara's personal opinion. Such conditional resignation letters are never accepted. The matter will dealt with through appropriate administrative channels. There are modalities prescribed for dealing with resignations of All India service officers and those will be followed. I am not here to contest Vanzara's personal opinion. To link the letter and the CD and to say both are credible because both are in the public domain is a very mischievous statement (made by Sanjay Jha). Both are different and will be dealt with separately. While a resignation letter will be dealt with by adminstrative channels.
Prashant Bhushan (Aam Admi Party): The question marks about the journalist who made the CD is one thing. But clearly several parts of the CD clearly show that at least two senior leaders of the BJP Bhupendra Yadav as well as Prakash Javadekar were clearly involved in trying to procure blank vakalatnamas from Narmada Bai, Prajapati's mother. Multiple vakalatnamas which could be used in all the courts. If they were desperately trying to do so, then quetsion arises why were they doing so. Why should persons acting on behalf of the main accused, ie. Mr Amit Shah in this case, try to obtain multiple blank vakalatnamas from the mother of the person who died, ie. the complainant ? Obviously they were trying to derail the investigation. The manner in which they have been brought into the public domain is that a regular writ petition has been filed by journalist through Ms Kamini Jaiswal in the Supreme Court and an independent CBI investigation been sought into the conspiracy to obtain false vakalanatnamas. The Congress has jumped into the fray on its own after the petition has been filed and are seeking to make use of this for their own political purposes. Which they are entitled to do. One has to expect that both main parties will use everything they can for their own political ends. But this is not an isolated case. All other tapes that surfaced recently and handed over to the CBI -conversations between Adv. Gene. of Gujarat, home minister, law minister etc. they all show attempts to derail investigations in the Ishrat Jehan case. Now a pattern is emerging that many leaders in Gujarat are clearly conspiring to derail trials that may lead back to Modi or Shah.
Sanjay Jha (Congress): It will be given to the police. I completely agree with Vyas. It will be provided as evidence. The CBI itself is investigating several cases of fake encounters under SC directions. This is a very serious charge. I don't want to get into the details of the case but for those who have followed these cases they will know that the state police and the state admin was clearly in collaboration. the night before prajapati was killed, there were several telephone conversations. Very unusual for a senior state officer to be talking to a junior police officer. This matter will be very seriously investigated. These days anyone who is referred to as a God has no real standing. Mr Amit Shah went to jail in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case. How can we deny that ? He is out on bail. The reason why Mr Modi today needs to be morally culpable. The letter takes the case forward against Amit Shah. The Gujarat government is responsible for abusing state machinery.