by Bhavya Dore
Former Gujarat police officer and alleged fake encounter accused DG Vanzara has been permitted to enter the state of Gujarat following an order from the Bombay High Court on Tuesday modifying the conditions of his bail.
Vanzara, accused in the alleged staged encounter of Sohrabbudin Shaikh while he was in the Gujarat state anti-terror squad, was allowed bail by the high court in this case in September 2014. At the time the court had given bail on the condition that he stay in Mumbai, report to the sessions court three times a week, surrender his passport and make no attempt to contact witnesses connected with the pending cases.
Last year Vanzara then moved the high court seeking to amend the condition prohibiting him from entering Gujarat on the ground that he had retired from service.
On Tuesday Justice Abhay M Thipsay allowed Vanzara’s application while imposing a condition that he would have to report to the CBI office in Gandhinagar every day except on Sundays or public holidays. “Any failure to report to the CBI office shall be reported by the concerned officer to the trial court which shall take appropriate action as it
deems fit,” he dictated.
Previously, bail conditions were imposed on Vanzara in line with what had been imposed in the cases of co-accused and police personnel B Chaubey and S Pandian.
“I have carefully considered the matter,” said the court, while dictating the order. “Since the other accused upon whom such conditions were imposed were deputed for duty in Maharashtra itself, the condition not to enter Gujarat doesn’t operate as harshly against them. Moreover, [Vanzara] was released after custody of eight years. All the accused are on bail. The trial has not yet commenced...”
In an earlier order the court had recorded the submission that it would be difficult for him to interfere in the case. “It is also submitted that the application has been provided with security and is always surrounded by police escort, and that, as such, it would not be possible for the application to abscond or tamper with the evidence,” it said.
In a light pink shirt and white pants, Vanzara was present in court on Tuesday instructing his lawyer Hitesh Shah, when the matter came up. He has also been accused in the fake encounter case of Mumbra student and alleged terrorist Ishrat Jahan.
He was granted bail in this matter in February 2015. An application to modify similar conditions in this bail order debarring him from entering Gujarat is still pending hearing in the Ahmedabad sessions court. The high court on Tuesday however, clarified that its own order should not be “construed as modifying that order or its effect”.