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Mutiny of a loyal soldier
- From ‘extra-hierarchical’ access to disenchantment

DG Vanzara. File picture

Ahmedabad, Sept. 4: In the good old days, D.G. Vanzara could just pick up the phone and dial the chief minister.

Such was his “extra-hierarchical access” to Narendra Modi before the alleged extra-judicial killings landed the Gujarat encounter cop in prison in 2007.

The suspended DIG, in jail for the past six years in connection with a string of fake encounter deaths, was also close to Amit Shah, Modi’s right-hand man.

Between 2002 and till his arrest, Vanzara was in direct touch with Shah, then junior home minister. It is Shah whom Vanzara has targeted in his letter of resignation from the IPS that became public yesterday and brought the focus back on the encounter killings that also led to the arrest of the former minister who is now out on bail.

A retired IPS officer said the letter, where Vanzara talks about being “ditched and disowned”, was an “act of despair and revolt” by a loyal police officer.

The officer said it was clear that Vanzara, once part of the “special group” of Gujarat police, had run out of patience after maintaining — as the jailed cop put it — a “dignified silence” for all these years.

Sources put the frustration down to the way Vanzara and the other jailed cops had been left to fend for themselves while Shah got a top-shot lawyer to fight his case.

In his September 1 letter to Gujarat’s addition chief secretary, Vanzara said: This government suddenly became vibrant and displayed a spur of sincere activities only when Shri Amitbhai Shah, former MOS, Home, was arrested by (the) CBI. It so happened that Shri Ram Jethmalani, the most learned, senior most and highest paid advocate of India was engaged for Shri Amitbhai Shah who appeared on behalf of him at all levels of courts… and got him released on regular bail within record time of 3 months of his imprisonment.”

Sources said Shah probably paid for the expenses though the party may have helped him hire Jethmalani.

Even Vanzara’s critics say the 1987-batch IPS officer deserved a better treatment from his political masters and the state government, which, the jailed cop said, monitored their actions from “very close quarters”.

R.B. Sreekumar, Vanzara’s former boss, put things in perspective when he described the suspended officer, a graduate from MS University, Vadodara, as an “extremely efficient, highly competent go-getter type” and a “careerist who would do anything for a good posting”.

Vanzara, in his own words, was a “loyal” soldier, but of his political bosses.

A devotee of self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, Vanzara has penned three books of poetry titled Viyapath, Sinhgarjana and Ratankar. The poems, dedicated to Asaram, who is under arrest on charges of sexual assault, primarily talk about inspiration, patriotism and devotion towards the motherland.

Vanzara is known for his spiritual inclinations. In Sabarmati jail, he is said to have danced to devotional tunes at a religious event organised by the prison authorities. He also built a temple inside the jail complex.

He got a diploma and later a degree in spirituality and value education following a course conducted by Annamalai University.

At a convocation organised in the jail in December 2011, Vanzara had said only a “true mard (man)” can be sent to jail. “We are here because nobody comes to prison on their own. But once we are here, we have to utilise the time in the best manner.”

Letter not accepted

The Gujarat government today said it has not accepted Vanzara’s resignation. “The resignation tendered by D.G. Vanzara has not been accepted,” additional chief secretary (home) S.K. Nanda told PTI.

Although Nanda did not give any reason, the state government’s decision may have been influenced by guidelines issued by the department of personnel and training that provide for vigilance clearance before a resignation is forwarded by the state to the competent authority at the Centre for acceptance.