D G Vanzara: From a farmer's scholarly son to a jailed encounter cop

Dahyaji Gobarji VanzaraConvocation at Sabarmati jail. Vanzara and Ahmedabad blast accused Sajid Mansoori congratulate each other for degrees. express archive

It was after he graduated from crime to terror that his aggression led to his undoing.

The conspiracy theorist

After joining the Ahmedabad crime branch from 2002, Vanzara as DCP would be involved in a series of encounters, before being promoted to DIG and posted in the ATS.

Starting from the time when Gujarat was reeling under communal riots and peaking during the encounters, police theories — now being attributed to Vanzara — linked a series of operations to ISI-sponsored conspiracies: a foiled attack on a rath yatra in 2002, blasts across the state and the killing of former minister Haren Pandya, followed by the Sadiq Jamal and the Ishrat Jahan encounters. Two others killed in encounters for which he has been chargesheeted — gangsters Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram — had been part of the information network he had built.

"He was a competent officer but he came under the evil influence of people in the Narendra Modi government," says retired DGP R B Sreekumar, who had rated Vanzara outstanding in 2001 for his work during the Kutch earthquake and the setting up of an SRP batallion in Banaskantha.

In a letter to a special task force probing 16 encounter cases, Sreekumar had written, "Why have alleged militant jihadi groups stopped sending potential assassins to kill Sangh Parivar leaders after the arrest of Vanzara in 2007, and why were intelligence inputs of terrorist attacks received only between 2002 and 2006?"

He tells The Indian Express, "If Vanzara had been stopped by the government after the alleged rath yatra firearms haul, the jihadi theories he cooked up around the fake encounters would not have happened."

Fighter & writer

The writer has resurfaced in the six years he has spent in jail. The aggressor hasn't lain low, though, going by complaints from two of his former colleagues.

... contd.

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