Thursday, March 3, 2011

Judge refuses to hear encounter case ,He Defended Vanzara As Lawyer In Another Case

Ahmedabad: A Gujarat high court judge refused to hear an encounter case because as a lawyer he had defended IPS officer D G Vanzara who is an accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.
A petition challenging the encounter killing of Sadiq Jamal Mehtar in Ahmedabad, came up before justice S R Brahmbhatt on Thursday. The petition by Sadiq's brother Shabbir Jamal was pending in the high court for last four years. Justice Brahmbhatt refused to hear it and said, "Not before me.”
The judge told the advocates of parties concerned that he could not hear the case because as a lawyer he once represented suspended cop Vanzara, in a Vadodara case in 2001. "I was his lawyer, so there is no question of me hearing this petition,” justice Brahmbhatt told the lawyers who said Vanzara was one of the respondents in Mehtar's petition.
The judge added he was not biased against anybody, but it was just not proper on his part to hear the case where his former client was a party. Justice Brahmbhatt was elevated as a judge of the high court from the Bar in 2004.
Sadiq, a youth from Bhavnagar, was killed in a police encounter on January 13, 2003, near Galaxy cinema in Naroda. After the shoot-out, the city crime branch, then headed by Vanzara, branded him a terrorist from Pakistanbased militant outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, who was in Ahmedabad on a mission to kill chief minister Narendra Modi to avenge the 2002 riots. After high-profile police officers including Vanzara were arrested in 2007 in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, Shabbir filed a petition in the high court demanding a CBI probe and alleged that his brother was shot in a staged encounter. The case was admitted by the high court more than a year ago, and is at the stage of final hearing.
Shabbir's counsel Mukul Sinha’s claims about the encounter being fake are based mainly on the testimony of Mumbai-based journalist Ketan Tirodkar, who said a couple of days before the encounter, Mumbai's famous encounter cop Daya Nayak had handed over Sadiq to Gujarat police. The petitioner has questioned the credibility of police investigation in this case.
In an earlier hearing, justice Akil Kureshi had questioned the intelligence input on Sadiq because Sadiq was arrested and released on bail in Bhavnagar in a gambling case just two weeks before his death.

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