Former IPS officer D.G. Vanzara has revealed to this newspaper that the Anti Terror Squad (ATS) of Gujarat had found credible leads in 2006 that some of the people working with Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) were planning to carry out terror attacks in Gujarat. Their plan was foiled after the ATS, which Vanzara led at the time, took three IRF workers, whom they suspected to have terror links, in their custody and interrogated them.
Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, Vanzara said that in 2006, ATS got credible input regarding a terror strike within Gujarat involving people who were directly associated with IRF. “Based on the leads that we had developed while working on a terror network, we took these three people, who were working with IRF, into custody. Their interrogation revealed that they were working on plans to carry out a bomb blast at Somnath temple in Saurashtra, Dwarkadhish temple in Dwarka and the bridge over Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad. But we arrested them before they could carry out the attack and an offence was registered. A few more names were revealed by them but before we could question them, the ATS personnel, including me, were arrested on false charges,” Vanzara said. Vanzara, who is now leading a retired life and is likely to plunge into politics soon, added that the three arrested were not “influenced” by Naik, but were a part of his organisation. According to him, the investigation into the case could not proceed further as the ATS was virtually disbanded. “I do not know what happened to that case since I was moved out of Gujarat soon and I was entangled in a legal battle,” he said.
“The police should find out what happened to that case. Terror plots take time to unravel as small leads need to be investigated, and results do not come overnight. If we had continued investigating that case, we could have revealed more names behind the plot,” he said.