Gujarat govt suspends cop who accused Modi

Last Updated: Tue, Aug 09, 2011 13:39 hrs

Police officer Sanjiv Bhatt, the man who had blamed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi-led administration of complicity in the 2002 riots in the state and also trying to help the accused, was suspended by the government, media reports said.

Bhatt, a 1988-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer who is already facing departmental proceedings initiated a few months ago, was reportedly 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 of the controversial cop came barely three days after he alleged that the Gujarat government was helping those accused in the 2002 riots in the state to prepare their defence by leaking probe information, media reports said.

In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, Bhatt had provided emails that allegedly show that the Chief Minister Narendra Modi-led state government was sharing information with legal counsels of the some of accused, reports said.

Through a long string of hands, classified emails from the Special Investigation Team (SIT), appointed to probe the riots, eventually made their way to high profile lawyer Ram Jethmalani and his son, Mahesh, who represents Amit Shah, Bhatt reportedly said.

Shah, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader who was the state's Home Minister during the riots, is being investigated for whether they misused government machinery during the riots

The top cop claimed that the SIT emails were sent Additional Advocate General of Gujarat Tushar Mehta who forwarded them to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue Gurumurthy Swaminathan who in turn sent them to the Jethmalani.

Mehta has also allegedly shared the emails with lawyers of other accused.

Earlier, in another affidavit filed in the apex court, the IPS officer had accused Gujarat chief minister Narendra 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). 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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