Ahmedabad: DG Vanzara stood in an open jeep and waved like the winning candidate in an election, many garlands around his neck and flower petals showered upon him by supporters as he left Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati jail on Wednesday afternoon.
“I got justice from the courts so I think acche din are back for me and other police officers,” Mr Vanzara said, using the catchphrase made famous by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign for the national elections. As he drove out of jail, supporters raised slogans and jostled to click a photograph of him on their mobile phones.
DG Vanzara, 61, is one of Gujarat’s most controversial police officers. Earlier this month, he was granted bail in the Ishrat Jahan case, one of two “fake encounter” cases against him, on the condition that he will not enter his home state Gujarat.
He had been granted bail in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh murder case in 2014. He was a Deputy Inspector General of Police when he was arrested in March 2007 and had been in jail since.
Mr Vanzara and other top police officers are accused of killing 19-year-old college student Ishrat Jahan and three others in 2004 and, in a separate case later, a petty criminal Sohrabbudin Sheikh, his wife and Tulsiram Prajapati, a key witness.
Mr Vanzara and the other police officers claim they were killing terrorists who wanted to assassinate Narendra Modi, who was then chief minister of Gujarat. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) says the civilians were killed in cold blood.
Today, Mr Vanzara said, “Anti-terror operations happen in every state. But Gujarat Police was a victim of politics. It was unfairly targeted for political reasons.”
He refused to comment on a resignation letter he had written from jail in 2013, in which he accused Amit Shah, who was Home Minister of Gujarat and is now BJP chief, of being in the know of the police officers’ plans to counter the civilians, who he maintained were terrorists from the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Mr Vanzara’s resignation was not accepted and he retired last year, while still in prison.
In December last year, a court in Mumbai said that there was no evidence to link Amit Shah to the fake encounters.