The face of the Gujarat police
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D G Vanzara
Dahyabhai Gobarji Vanzara, the "encounter king" of Gujarat police, was seemingly indomitable until his arrest in 2007 for staging the killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi. Believed to be close to Chief Minister Narendra Modi and former minister Amit Shah, Vanzara, 54, was promoted to the IPS cadre in 1987. He was deputy chief of the Ahmedabad crime branch and later the Gujarat ATS during six sensational "encounters" that saw 11 including two women killed, with most branded terror group operatives targeting Modi. Those killed included Sadiq Jamal Mehtar, Mumbai college girl Ishrat Jahan, Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram Prajapati. He was later promoted as DIG and as head of the border range. Lodged in Sabarmati Central Jail, Vanzara is acquiring degrees in yoga and spirituality and aspires to do courses in public management and IT through distance education.
The flamboyant Chudasama, 47, is called "well-networked", "star cop" and "dreadful" in the same breath. As SP in Valsad, he made a name as an encounter specialist and was beginning to step into Vanzara's shoes. He is said to have been involved in the abduction of Sohrabuddin and his wife. He came from a village in Bhavnagar and joined the police in 1991 through the Gujarat Public Service Commission. Upgraded to IPS in 1999, he served in the Ahmedabad crime branch in 2002 and was a DSP in the ATS and then in the Intelligence Bureau. In 2008, he finally sat in his mentor Vanzara's chair as deputy commissioner of police in Ahmedabad's crime branch; in 2010 he was arrested in the Sohrabuddin case. Chudasama is now in Nadiad sub-jail, away from Vanzara who is in Sabarmati Central Jail.
Bitter former protégé
His real name is S Pandia Rajkumara and he hails from Tamil Nadu. He was once under the shadow of Vanzara and came across as the officer who followed his orders, but he has fallen out with his former boss since their arrested for the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter in 2007. The 1996-batch IPS officer was then 38, the youngest IPS officer to be arrested in an encounter case. As SP in the ATS, he allegedly "kidnapped" Sohrabuddin and his wife from a bus and brought them from Sangli to Ahmedabad. It is suspected he possibly even captured Tulsiram Prajapati and brought him to Valsad before sending him away to Rajasthan. Pandian has a doctorate in agriculture and his career had looked promising. Now 43, Pandian has been involved in slug-fests in Sabarmati Central Jail with Vanzara and their aide N K Amin. Pandian had been close to former minister Amit Shah, too, and enjoyed plum postings in the Intelligence Bureau and as SP of Porbandar.
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