A court in Ahmedabad on Monday granted bail Gujarat's suspended "whistle-blower" IPS officer Sanjeev Bhattl, in significant snub to the state government that has been trying hard to keep the cop behind bars.
Bhatt was arrested Sept 30 on a complaint lodged around three months ago by his former driver, constable K D Panth, who alleged that the senior officer had "threatened and forced" him to sign a "false affidavit" to support the officer´s claims against Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Earlier in August, Bhatt, a 1988-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer who is already facing departmental proceedings initiated a few months ago, was served a five-page suspension letter by the state's Home department over "unauthorised absence".
The Director General of Police (DGP) Chitaranjan Singh had in March first blamed him of not attending to his duties at the Junagadh State Reserve Police (SRP) Chowki, where he is posted, to which Bhatt said he was away for his mother's operation and reported back after his leave.
The suspension followed Bhatt taking on the Gujarat government in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, along with emails that allegedly showed that the Chief Minister Modi-led state administration was sharing information with legal counsels of the some of accused, reports said.
In another affidavit filed in the apex court, the IPS officer had also accused Modi of complicity in the riots that had left thousands dead.
In his affidavit, Bhatt named Modi in connection with the Godhra case and said the police 'blindly' followed the CM's instructions that led to the decline of law and order in the state.
He said Modi asked the police to remain 'indifferent' to the rioters.
"The effects of directions given by the Chief Minister were widely manifested in the half-hearted approach and the evident lack of determination on the part of Police while dealing with the widespread incidents of orchestrated violence during the State sponsored Gujarat bandh on 28th February 2002 and also during the weeks that followed," read a portion of his affidavit.
The officer also claimed to be present at the closed door 'controversial' meeting that was held at Modi's residence on February 27, 2002 night.
"As an officer serving with the State Intelligence Bureau at that relevant point of time, I was not only present at the meeting held at the residence of the Chief Minister on the night of 27.2.2002, but had also witnessed the apparent lack of firmness on parts of many Police Units while dealing with the emergent situation," Bhatt said in his affidavit.
Bhatt alleged that the SC-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) is trying to 'shield' Modi.
The infamous Gujarat riots of 2002 left hundreds of Muslims dead, injured and tortured and came as a blot in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rule in the state.
The riots followed an incident of train burning in Godhra in which Hindus returning from Ayodhya were killed by a Muslim mob.
Around 1,000 supporters of prime accused Maulvi Umarjihad attacked the coach at the Godhra station and torched it killing 59 people and injuring many.