CBI court grants bail to Vanzara, Pandey in Ishrat Jahan case

Thursday, Feb 5, 2015,20:09 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Ahmedabad | In a breather to controversial Gujarat IPS officers– D G Vanzara and P P Pandey– a special CBI court today granted them conditional bail in the fake encounter killing case of Ishrat Jahan and three others who were branded by the state police as LeT terrorists.
Special CBI judge K R Upadhyaya allowed the bail applications of Pandey, an officer of Additional Director General of Police rank, and Vanzara, after placing stringent conditions for their release. Application (for bail) is allowed, the judge said, rejecting objections from the prosecution, which contended that the release of Vanzara, whose stint as city Crime Branch and Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief had seen sudden spurt in extra-judicial killings, could be an open challenge to the civil society.
The officer, who retired under suspension while in jail in connection with the Sohrabuddin Shaikh, Tulsiram Prajapati and Ishrat Jahan fake encounter killing cases, has been barred from entering Gujarat but ordered to mark his presence before the court every working Saturday. He has also been prohibited from leaving the country. Vanzara will walk out of jail after spending nearly eight years behind bars since his arrest in connection with Sohrabuddin Sheikh case on April 24, 2007 after furnishing a personal bond of Rs two lakh.
The same court earlier ordered release of another suspended IPS officer P P Pandey, who has been in jail in the Ishrat Jahan case for 18 months. Like Vanzara, Pandey, an ADGP rank officer, has also been asked to surrender his passport and not to leave the country without the court’s permission. Pandey, who was the city’s Joint Police Commissioner during the 2004 encounter killing, was ordered to be released on a personal bond of Rs one lakh and two sureties of the like amount. He was also directed to appear before the CBI court every Thursday, not to tamper with evidence or try to influence the witnesses in the case.
19-year-old college student Ishrat Jahan, from Mumbra near Mumbai, Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in an alleged staged encounter by a Crime Branch team on the outskirts of Ahmedabad city on June 15, 2005. Gujarat police had then claimed the deceased were members of Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba and were on a mission to assassinate the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.  According to the CBI charge sheet, the encounter was set up by the Gujarat Police and the Intelligence Bureau.