Former Inspector General of Gujarat DG Vanzara on Tuesday claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was secretly interrogated in connection with the alleged fake encounter involving Ishrat Jahan.

The former senior police official is a key accused in the case. Vanzara was discharged in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Prajapati cases in 2017. He retired from the police force while in jail in 2014.

“The fact also remains that the then [Gujarat chief minister] and present Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi was also called by the IO [investigating officer] and was interrogated,” Vanzara said in a plea seeking discharge, according to PTI. The petition was filed in a special Central Bureau of Investigation court in Ahmedabad. “However, such material is not placed on record of this case.” This, he said, proves that “the entire material on record of this case is nothing but a false story.”

It was the intention of the investigation team at the time to reach the chief minister and “to rope him in as the accused in this case”, Vanzara said. “And for that purpose the story of the whole charge sheet is concocted and created.”

Vanzara, in his discharge plea, also pleaded for parity as former Gujarat Director General of Police PP Pandey was discharged in February in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case. He is the only accused among seven police personnel and four Intelligence Bureau officials to be discharged.

Fake encounters

In June 2004, Ishrat Jahan and three others were killed in an alleged encounter with security forces on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. The Gujarat Police had claimed that the four had links with terrorist groups and were conspiring to kill Narendra Modi, who was Gujarat’s chief minister at the time. However, a special investigation team set up by the High Court had found the encounter to be fake. After this, the case was transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Sadiq Jamal was killed for similar reasons in 2003. Sohrabuddin Sheikh, who had cases of arms smuggling and murder against him, was killed in November 2005, while in police custody. A year later, his associate, Tulsiram Prajapati, who had witnessed Sheikh’s killing, was shot dead by the police.