International Development News
Development News Edition

Bombay HC upholds discharge granted to former Gujarat ATS chief


The Bombay High Court upheld Monday the discharge granted to former Gujarat ATS chief D G Vanzara and four other officers from the Rajasthan and Gujarat police by a trial court in the alleged fake encounter case of

suspected gangster Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife, and aide.

The court dismissed the five revision pleas filed by Sohrabuddin Shaikh's brother Rubabuddin and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) challenging their discharge, saying they were devoid of merit.

Justice A M Badar also granted relief to Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Vipul Aggarwal and allowed his discharge application in the case which relates to an alleged fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife Kausar Bi and their aide Tulsiram

Prajapati in 2005-2006.

The officers who now stand discharged in the case are Vanzara, Gujarat police's Rajkumar Pandian, N K Amin, and Aggarwal, and Rajasthan Police's Dinesh M N and Dalpat Singh Rathod.

Rubabuddin had challenged the discharge granted to Dinesh, Pandian, and Vanzara. The remaining two revision pleas were filed by the CBI, challenging the discharge granted to Amin and Rathod.

The HC took note of the arguments of the defense team comprising senior lawyers Mahesh Jethmalani, Shirish Gupte, Raja Thakare and Niranjan Mundargi, who had claimed the CBI had planted evidence and fabricated facts to suit its case.

In his verdict, Justice Badar held the trial court was justified in discharging the officials for want of evidence, and absence of any material.

He also noted that the prosecuting agencies had failed to get prior government sanction before charging most of the officers concerned in the case. Therefore, the trial court was justified in dropping the case against them on the ground of want of prior prosecution sanction.

The CBI, through Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh and advocate Sandesh Patil, and Rubabuddin Shaikh through his lawyer Gautam Tiwari had argued that the trial court had erred in discharging the officials.

They had argued that the officials should at least have been made to stand trial (discharge is a pre-trial process based on evidence on record).

On July 16, Justice Badar had reserved the verdict on all the six pleas.

Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Prajapati were alleged extortionists who were taking money from marble traders in Rajasthan and Gujarat, the CBI had told the HC.

They used to do some extortion work for the local police, however, the relationship turned sour, and the Gujarat police decided to have them out of the way, the CBI's chargesheet said.

As per the CBI, in November 2005, when Sohrabuddin Shaikh and his wife Kauser Bi were traveling by bus from Hyderabad to Sangli in Maharashtra, they were stopped by the Gujarat and Rajasthan Police, abducted and he was shot dead near Gandhinagar.

Kausar Bi was killed a few days later and the body was burnt to dispose of the evidence, it said.

At the time of the encounter, the police had claimed Sohrabuddin Shaikh had terror links.

Prajapati was shot dead in another staged encounter in December 2006 by a team of the Rajasthan Police at the behest of the same group of Gujarat and Rajasthan officials, the Central agency had said in its chargesheet.

The police, however, had claimed Prajapati had been trying to escape from custody while being taken back to Ahmedabad from Udaipur in a train following a hearing in another case in Rajasthan.

The Gujarat CID that was probing the cases claimed all killings were part of staged encounters.

Among the first arrests made by the CID in the case were of Deputy Inspector General Vanzara and Rajasthan Police officer Dinesh.

The probe authority obtained phone call records that it claimed revealed frequent phone calls between Vanzara, Dinesh, superintendents of police Rajkumar Pandian, and Vipul Kumar and BJP president Amit Shah, who was the then Gujarat Minister of State for Home.

In 2010, the CBI took over the probe, claimed these were fake encounters and charged the same set of persons who had earlier been booked by the Gujarat CID.

In July 2010, the CBI arrested Shah in the case. He was granted bail by the Gujarat HC in October that year.

The police officials arrested in the case had been serving jail terms since 2007 and were granted bail after each of them spent five to seven years in judicial custody.

In 2012, the case was transferred to Mumbai from Gujarat by the Supreme Court that subsequently also tagged all the three encounter cases together.

In December 2014, a special CBI court in Mumbai absolved Shah of all charges and discharged him from the case, holding that the frequent call records were poor evidence.

Subsequently, between August 2016 and September 2017, the special court also discharged 14 others, including Vanzara, Dinesh, Pandian, Amin, and Rathod.

The special court only rejected Aggarwal's plea.

However, he was granted relief Monday by the HC.

Justice Badar had conducted detailed daily hearings for about two weeks in July on the five revision pleas and the petition filed by Aggarwal.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION/BLOG/INTERVIEW

'No escape from telephones', this 1953 prediction actually comes true

In 1953, a telephone company chief predicted that therell be no escape from telephones in the future....

With Ayodhya verdict, CJI starts clearing high profile pending cases

Ending all the speculations, the Chief Justice of India Mr. Ranjan Gogoi who is due to retire on November 17 decided to deliver the verdict in Ayodya dispute at 10.30 am on Saturday which is not a working day for the Supreme Court. This is ...

How partnerships and collaborations could enhance teacher training

Monica Malhotra Kandhari, Managing Director, MBD Group shares her views on public private partnership and collaborations in education sector. She supports her propositions with her organisations success stories....

Fixed Test centers would facelift level of WTC in India

The venues for the test matches in India should be fixed so that World Test Championship matches remain fair....

Videos

Latest News

WB minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay alleges assault by fellow party leader Mala Roy's supporters

Senior TMC leader and West Bengal Power Minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay on Tuesday night alleged that he was assaulted by supporters of fellow party leader and MP Mala Roy following a tiff during the ongoing Kolkata International Film Fest...

UPDATE 2-Former Republican Congressman Mark Sanford drops bid to challenge Trump

Former U.S. Representative Mark Sanford of South Carolina has abandoned his long-shot bid to challenge President Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination in 2020, he said on Tuesday.Sanford, 59, a longtime Trump critic, annou...

UPDATE 3-Democrats vow to insulate impeachment probe from 'sham investigations'

The impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump will not be allowed to become a venue for sham investigations into Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his son, the head of a congressional committee leading the probe said ...

There will be crackdown on drinking of alcohol on Goa's beaches: CM Sawant

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Tuesday said there will be a crackdown on the drinking of alcohol on beaches after two tourists, who were in an inebriated condition, drowned in Morjim beach. Speaking to reporters, the Chief Minister ass...

Give Feedback