DG Vanzara gave contract to Sohrabuddin to kill ex-minister Haren Pandya: Witness

The witness said he had told CBI investigator about it in 2010 who refused to include it in his testimony.

Mumbai: A key witness in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh alleged fake encounter case told a Mumbai court that former IPS officer D G Vanzara had given a contract to Sohrabuddin to kill ex-Gujarat minister Haren Pandya.

The witness, Azam Khan, an associate of Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram Prajapati, also said that while he had told the CBI investigator about it in 2010, the officer had refused to include it in his testimony, reports said.

On March 26, 2003, Pandya was found shot dead in his car near Law Garden in Ahmedabad.

Azam Khan said he met Shaikh in 2002 and became good friends with him and his wife Kausar Bi and his associate Tulsi Prajapati.

"During that time, Sohrabuddin told me he had got money from D G Vanzara to kill Gujarat's home minister Haren Pandya and he completed the job. I then told him that what he did was wrong and he had killed a good person," Khan was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

In 2005, Khan was arrested by the Rajasthan police and lodged in Udaipur jail where he met Prajapati who told him about Sohrabuddin’s encounter.

"Prajapati told me that the Gujarat police killed Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausar Bi," the witness said, deposing before special CBI Judge S J Sharma.

Khan, an Udaipur-based gangster, was brought before the court on Saturday under heavy security from Udaipur central jail where he is currently lodged.

The testimony will continue next week.

Shaikh and his wife were killed in an alleged fake encounter in 2005 by Gujarat police. Prajapati was later killed in another alleged fake encounter by Gujarat and Rajasthan police.

Of the 38 people charged by the CBI for the two alleged fake encounters, 16 were discharged by the trial court. Those discharged included BJP chief Amit Shah, Vanzara and all senior officers of Gujarat and Rajasthan police.

(With PTI inputs)

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