The arrest of Asaram may have been the proverbial last straw for Gujarat top-cop D G Vanzara, who quit the Indian Police Service on Tuesday and in an angry letter blamed Chief Minister Narendra Modi of using him.
Vanzara, who has spent seven years in jail now along with 32 other police officers for a string of extra-judicial killings, told a close relative that the arrest of Asaram, who he considers his guru, left him devastated. “My god could not save my guru. How will he save me,” he is reported to have asked this relative. The ‘god’ here being a reference to Modi.
Vanzara, who called himself a ‘nationalist Hindu’ just like his ‘god’ and who never concealed the fact he used extra-judicial methods to eliminate terrorists, had told this correspondent just days before being transferred to a jail in Mumbai that his actions were guided by ‘desh bhakti’. “This is no prison. Prison is in your mind. I do not mind spending my life in jail. These encounters were not a crime. Silence against jihad is a crime. This is desh bhakti for me,” he had said.
But Vanzara, the senior most among all police officers who are being tried for a string of fake encounters, seems to have lost all hope after Asaram’s arrest for sexually abusing 16-year-old girl in his ashram. “Saheb (Vanzara) was patient for seven years. He was moved to the Taloja jail because of dirty politics. And then Asaram Bapu, who for last seven years has been Saheb’s strength, was arrested. Saheb was confident that his god (Modi) would save his guru. But now he is a broken man,” a family source told Mirror in Ahmedebad.
Vanzara’s association with Asaram Bapu is about two decades old. A policeman, who has worked as a constable with Vanzara, told Mirror: “Even when Vanzara was posted as border range police head in Banaskantha district, he would insist that his milk must come from the gaushala at Asaram’s ashram in Ahmedabad.”
The distance between Banaskantha and Ahmedabad is 139 km. Vanzara insisted on drinking the milk sourced from Asaram’s ashram at Motera in Ahmedabad because he considered it guru prasad.
During his time in prison, Vanzara wrote at least two dozen poems dedicated to Asaram. One poem penned on Guru Purnima on July 7, 2007 from Sabarmati Central Jail goes: ‘I have cleaned up not only just my prison cell today, but my soul too. For, today people have gathered at Motera to seek his blessings. Everybody is singing my guru’s praises. It is because of him that there is so much of sunshine in my life, soul and even this cell.”
According to Vanzara’s family, he was disappointed when former home minister Amit Shah ignored nearly two dozen odd policemen who are in jail in connection with the fake encounters but made sure he himself got out scot-free. Shah, Modi’s close confidant, is now BJP’s in-charge of Uttar Pradesh. Modi himself is preparing for the biggest battle of his political life with the PM’s post as his ultimate target.
In his angry resignation letter, Vanzara says, “When Amit Shah was arrested, the best of legal aid was given to him. Ram Jethmalani represented him from the CBI court to the Supreme Court. The state government never provided any legal support, leave apart lip service to us or our families.”
While Vanzara felt let down by Shah and Modi, Asaram gave him strength. Sources said Vanzara regularly spoke to Asaram from over the phone from the Sabarmati jail. However, this connection snapped once Vanzara was moved to Taloja in Mumbai.
While Vanzara was treated like a VIP in Ahmedabad jails, the harsh reality of Taloja crushed his spirit. His family believes that Modi and Shah could have prevented his transfer to Taloja, but they did nothing. One of the privileges he missed the most was the milk from Asaram’s ashram. In one of his applications in a Mumbai court Vanzara bitterly complained about the quality of milk served to him.