Appealing for support, friends, family say ex-IPS Sanjiv Bhatt framed as he deposed on Modi role in 2002 riots

Counterview Desk
Former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested for a 1996 case a little more than a week ago, has been brought from Palanpur to Gandhinagar, where he is “expected to be kept in police custody till the September 24”, according to his wife, Shweta Bhatt. “This is the 8th night, Sanjiv won’t be spending at home with his family”, she said in a Facebook post, even as thanking the support she claims to be getting from different quarters, including the Indians Fight For Justice (IFFJ) and friends.
Bhatt’s family believes that he has been framed because he spoke truth about the alleged complicity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots. A detailed appeal to support Bhatt by in all possible way says that as an IPS officer he had “a conscience and a spine”.
Reproduced below are excerpts from the appeal by IFFJ: 
Sanjiv Bhatt is an alumnus of Hill Grange High School Mumbai, St Xavier’s High School (Loyola Hall), Ahmedabad, and Indian Institute of Technology- Bombay. He cleared the Union Public Service Commission Civil Services Examination with a very high rank and opted for the Indian Police Service (IPS) in 1987/88 at the age of 23 and was allotted to the Gujarat cadre.
In 2002, he was posted as the Deputy Commissioner in-charge of Internal Security at the State Intelligence Bureau Gandhinagar, when the Godhra incident took place. With the possibility of retaliatory violence looming across the state, the police was gearing up to take control of the state’s law and order.
But things were made to play out differently. Over the next one week, more than a 1,000 people, mostly from one community, were murdered in cold blood across the state. While the world was shocked at the state police’s inability to control the predictable violence, most of the police officers chose to keep quiet and toe the line of the government of the day.
Sanjiv Bhatt was an exception. He, in keeping with his own track record, stood his ground against the flow and might of a complicit government and a pliant administrative machinery. He fearlessly carried out his duty by sending out timely advisories and reports from the Intelligence Bureau, ensuring effective intervention and action by the police at many places across the state of Gujarat.
His contemporaneous reports and advisories have been presented before various commissions and courts as evidence of state complicity and administrative inaction during the Gujarat Carnage of 2002.
Sanjiv Bhatt was eventually cited as an important witness in the Complaint filed by Zakia Jafri, the widow of slain MP Ehsaan Jafri, in 2006. The refusal of the Gujarat Police to treat this complaint as an FIR was challenged in the Supreme Court of India by Zakia Ehsaan Jafri by way of SLP 1088 of 2008.
Unmindful of the consequences, Sanjiv Bhatt not only deposed before the SIT that was inquiring into the Complaint filed by Mrs. Jafri, but also filed a detailed affidavit in the Supreme Court in order to expose the role of the state administrative machinery in the 2002 carnage; as well as the blatant attempts of the SIT at shielding the powerful accused persons including Narendra Modi, the then Chief Minister of Gujarat.
The affidavit filed by Sanjiv Bhatt, before the Supreme court of India, clearly brought out the role of Narendra Modi, the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, in allegedly asking top police officials to let Hindus vent out their anger against one community. Sadly, the Special Investigation Team appointed by the Supreme Court of India dismissed his allegations and filed a Closure Report, giving a clean chit to Narendra Modi and other powerful functionaries of the state.
This Closure Report is currently under challenge before the High Court of Gujarat and Sanjiv Bhatt continues to be an important witness to the role and function of the state administration in the Gujarat Carnage of 2002 and the subsequent cover-up machinations.
In addition to his affidavit before the Supreme Court, Sanjiv Bhatt has also extensively deposed on oath before the Justice Nanavati Commission, as well as the National Commission for Minorities. His depositions and affidavits before the Supreme Court, the Justice Nanavati Commission, and the National Commission for Minorities have brought out in great detail, irrefutable evidence of state complicity and administrative inaction during the Gujarat carnage of 2002.
This act of speaking out the truth against some of the most powerful people in the country has since cost Sanjiv Bhatt and his family dearly. He had to face a flurry of concocted charges and was eventually removed from service in 2015, after an ex parte departmental inquiry, on the flimsy ground of “Unauthorised Absence From Duty” for a period when he was actually deposing before the Justice Nanavati Commission of Inquiry. He has been denied his rightful pension and other service benefits despite having served for 27 years in the Indian Police Service.
Recently, the government also withdrew the meagre security cover that was provided to him and his family. Not stopping at this, the BJP-controlled Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has demolished a large portion of his house, making it unfit and unusable until major repairs are undertaken. 
In complete disregard of judicial propriety, this demolition was carried out round-the-clock for one full week, despite the fact that his Writ Petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, challenging the illegal orders of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation was pending before the Supreme Court of India; thereby rendering the Writ Petition absolutely infructuous even before it could be taken up for hearing by the Supreme Court.
The Writ Petition came up for hearing after the demolition was completed, and was dismissed as it was already rendered otiose by the actuality of the demolition which had already been carried out during the pendency of the Petition.
Sanjiv Bhatt and his family have chosen to remain unbroken in the face of the full might of the state, and continue to face the unabated retribution with their heads held high. As all of us know, he and his family are paying the price for speaking and upholding the truth despite all odds and difficulties.
We, at Indians Fight for Justice (IFFJ), having gone through the affidavits filed before various Commissions and Courts, and also being subjectively satisfied about the veracity of facts contained in this appeal, have decided to unflinchingly support the cause of justice for Sanjiv Bhatt and his family.
Along with the stated laudable objective of expressing our solidarity with Sanjiv Bhatt and his family, we at IFFJ – an apolitical and non-profit group, comprising secular minded and dedicated legal practitioners, as well as other professionals, from diverse fields – wish to eventually avail the services of Sanjiv Bhatt and other such experienced and dedicated professionals to set up a countrywide legal help network that strives to selflessly secure justice for victims of any and all authoritarian repression.

Comments