Gujarat govt's remand plea, Bhatt's bail to be heard on Oct 7

Last Updated: Wed, Oct 05, 2011 15:10 hrs

Ahmedabad, Oct 5 (IBNS) A Gujarat sessions court will resume hearing bail plea of suspended IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt, who had accused chief minister Narendra Modi of complicity in the 2002 riots, on Friday (Oct 7).

The court will also pronounce its order on Gujarat government's Revision Remand application seeking police remand for Bhatt on the same day (Oct 7).

Speaking to the media, the prosecution lawyer said, "Our application which we gave for deferring the hearing till the remand revision order has been decided was rejected. We gave an application to move the HC to stay this order and that was also rejected."

"The hearing of the bail application has begun and the accused has started arguing his case. The hearing will now proceed on Friday in the second session," he said.

Bhatt remains in judicial custody till Friday.

The court on Tuesday reserved its order on the Revision Remand application till Friday.

Bhatt on Tuesday said he would not compromise with the Modi government for a bail and would rather prefer to remain in jail for whatever period.

The Union Home Ministry also has meanwhile written to the Gujarat government to ensure security of Bhatt after his wife wrote to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram apprehending his life threat in prison.

The court on Monday admitted Bhatt's bail application.

When the judge told Bhatt that if he could agree to give the police access to his bank lockers and be in police remand for a while his bail would be easier, the latter said "there can be no compromise with the Modi government."

He said he is fighting a principled battle and would stay in jail for as long as it required.

Judge V K Vyas also issued notices to Gujarat government and the state Director General of Police on the case.

The arrested Gujarat cop on Saturday was sent to judicial custody by the court.

Bhatt was produced at a local court on Saturday, where he filed bail application claiming his arrest to be 'a conspiracy' by the Gujarat government.

Rejecting the police´s request for custody of the top cop, the court sent Bhatt to judicial custody, in a verdict that was seen as setback for the police.

The suspended Gujarat IPS officer's lawyer said his arrest was 'an attempt to intimidate a witness who had deposed against the Narendra Modi government'.

According to media reports, Bhatt was arrested 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 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.

Earlier, 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.

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