One of Gujarat's most controversial police officers, DG Vanzara, has been granted bail in the second of two encounter killing cases, allowing him to leave the jail in Ahmedabad where he has spent nearly eight years. However, Mr Vanzara will have to leave his home state. The court that granted him bail today said he cannot enter Gujarat.
Mr Vanzara is among the top police officers accused in the killing of seven people in two separate "fake encounters". He and other police officers claimed they were killing terrorists who wanted to assassinate the then chief minister Narendra Modi, but the civilians were shot dead in cold blood, says the CBI.
In the first case, a 19-year-old college student, Ishrat Jahan, was killed in 2004 with three other people on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. A year later, Sohrabuddin Sheikh, a petty criminal who was allegedly blackmailing the powerful marble traders lobby in neighbouring Rajasthan, was pulled off a bus along with his wife; the couple was killed. Tulsiram Prajapathi, a key witness to their abduction, was shot dead a year later; the police claimed that he was trying to escape.
In 2013, Mr Vanzara wrote a resignation letter in which he blamed 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's Lashkar-e-Taiba. Mr Vanzara's resignation was not accepted; he retired last year, while still in prison.
In December, a court in Mumbai said that there was no evidence to link Amit Shah to the fake encounters and he would not be tried for the murder of Sohrabuddin Sheikh.