A special CBI court here on Tuesday discharged former Gujarat top cops D.G. Vanzara and M.N. Dinesh in the sensational Sohrabuddin Sheikh ‘fake encounter killing’ case of 2005 in Ahmedabad.
While Vanzara, IPS, was the head of Crime Branch of Ahmedabad Police and later Deputy Inspector General of Police, Dinesh, an IPS officer with Rajasthan Police, was the then head of Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad.
The development comes as a setback to the CBI which had booked Vanzara as the main conspirator in the case while Dinesh had led the encounter team which killed the Sheikh couple 12 years ago.
The case with major political overtones pertains to the incident in which a suspected gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife were gunned down in November 2005 in Gujarat.
According to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which probed the case, Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi were allegedly picked up by the Gujarat ATS team when they were proceeding from Hyderabad, in Andhra Pradesh, to Sangli in Maharashtra in a bus.
While Sheikh – described as a terrorist linked with global terror groups and planning a ‘strike’ – was gunned down near Gandhinagar, his wife was killed after a couple of days.
A co-passenger travelling with the couple, Tulsiram Prajapati, who was the sole prime witness in the alleged ‘fake encounter’ case, was later killed by police in an encounter at Chhapri Village in Banaskantha district in December 2006.
At the time, the CBI contended that an impressions was sought to be created that Sheikh was shot dead by the police when he tried to escape from their clutches.
Vanzara remained in judicial custody from 2007 till February 2015 when he secured bail in the case, but resigned from services in 2013, while Dinesh was released in 2014.