Sohrabuddin case verdict: BJP, ex-cops claim vindication

Ahmedabad: BJP leaders, including Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and former Gujarat police officers Friday welcomed the verdict in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh encounter case and claimed vindication of their stand, adding the court ruling has “exposed” the Congress.

Former DIG D G Vanzara today welcomed the verdict in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh encounter case and claimed vindication of their stand, adding the court ruling has “exposed” the Congress.

They said the encounter was genuine and the entire case against policemen from Gujarat and Rajasthan, who were named accused, was part of a “political conspiracy”.

A special CBI court in Mumbai Friday acquitted all 22 accused in the encounter killings of Shaikh, his wife Kausar Bi and aide Tulsi Prajapati in 2005-06 in Gujarat, citing insufficient evidence. Most of the accused were junior-level police officials.

Sitharaman said the verdict has exposed the Congress’ “conspiracy to malign Gujarat’s image”.

“BJP has been saying that it (encounter) was not a conspiracy. Court verdict has now established that it was a genuine effort by the police to stop a crime. Congress’ conspiracy to malign Gujarat’s image using CBI has been exposed today,” she told reporters in Gandhinagar.

Former Gujarat IPS officer D G Vanzara said his stand that the encounter was genuine has been vindicated by the court.

Without naming the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government, Vanzara, who was behind bars for nine years in the case before being discharged, said police officers became victims of a “political conspiracy” under which genuine encounters were labelled as fake.

“But, Gujarat police officials suffered as they became victims of a political conspiracy,” Vanzara told reporters in the state capital.

The retired police officer said some “anti-national” elements tried to prove that genuine encounters which took place in Gujarat over a decade ago were fake.

Asked to elaborate on his claim of political conspiracy, Vanzara said the police became victims of “cross- firing” between Delhi and Gandhinagar, an apparent reference to the UPA government at the Centre and the Narendra Modi-led BJP government in Gujarat at the time of encounters.

Vanzara said if the police had not carried out those encounters, terrorists may have succeeded in their “plan to kill Modi and turn Gujarat into Kashmir”.

Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said the entire case against police was concocted by “some people” as part of a political conspiracy.

On Congress leader Sonia Gandhi’s “maut ka saudagar” jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the then CM, during the 2007 assembly poll campaign in Gujarat, Patel said that party tried to win elections through such conspiracies.

“Opposition parties tried to take advantage of this case. During a rally, Sonia Gandhi even used the word maut ka saudagar (for Modi). Congress leaders tried to win polls by stooping so low,” Patel told reporters in Gandhinagar.

Gujarat BJP leader I K Jadeja said the court verdict has proved the then UPA government at the Centre “misused” the CBI to harass political leaders and police officials of the state.

“With today’s verdict, my stand on encounters has been vindicated. I have been saying since day one that the (Sohrabuddin) encounter was genuine.

“The judiciary has vindicated our stand of last 10 years. We have been saying that the UPA government misused the CBI to harass our leaders and police officials of Gujarat,” Jadeja said.

The BJP leader sought an apology from former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

“The judiciary has established that Congress had tried to harass our leaders, the then CM (Modi) and ministers along with government officials,” he said.

Referring to the arrest of BJP president Amit Shah by the CBI in 2010 in the case, Jadeja claimed political leaders were harassed at the behest of the UPA government and Congress leaders like Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

Shah, a Gujarat minister at the time of his arrest, was discharged from the case by the CBI court in 2014.

Another former police officer NK Amin, who was also discharged in the case along with Vanzara earlier, said he is happy that the remaining policemen have also received justice.

“Though it came as a relief for them, no one can give them back those years which they spent in jail during trial,” Amin said.

“This case was politically motivated and a malicious prosecution targeted police officers,” he said.

PTI