Skip to main content

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

The car hit by an "unregistered" beacon-light flashing truck
By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.
Though Shweta Bhatt and her son Shantanu miraculously escaped unhurt, their car was badly damaged.
Sacked by the Gujarat government in 2015, Sanjiv Bhatt has been at loggerheads with the authorities ever since he filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court in April 2011 against the then chief minister Narendra Modi concerning Modi's alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots. According to Bhatt, on February 27, 2002, Modi asked top police officials to let Hindus "vent out their anger" against Muslims.
A shaken Shweta Bhatt suspects foul play. However, she has refused to lodge an FIR with the police as she has lost faith in the system. “I only gave a statement to the police officer who reached the accident spot and did not press any charge against the driver, who apparently was hired by a contractor of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and did not even carry the necessary documents of the vehicle,” she told this correspondent.
“It was only after I reached home that I realized that this could be a part of a sinister move to intimidate our family. But it is just my suspicion”, she added.
What made her suspicious is the trail of events since September 5, last when a troop of over two dozen policemen swooped down on her house and whisked away Sanjiv Bhatt to some unknown destination on the pretext of asking him some questions related to the 23-year-old case against him.
Sanjiv Bhatt, who was dismissed from the Indian Police Service after Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, has been lodged in the Palanpur district jail since September 5. His bail application took nearly three months for the district session’s court of Palanpur to be heard and finally rejected.
The Bhatts have been facing the ordeal of facing harassment from the state government since July last after Sanjiv’s security cover was removed, despite the government being fully aware of the threats on his life, as one of the main witnesses of the 2002 riots case.
Shweta Bhatt, Sanjiv Bhatt
A couple of days later, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) suddenly demolished parts of Bhatts’ house, in which he lived for the past 23 years -- an initiative, they say is based on absolutely illegal and flimsy grounds. AMC staff demolished the kitchen, the washrooms and parts of the bedrooms, while causing irreparable damage to the structural integrity of the entire house.
On September 5, the CID Crime branch entered his house at 8 am on the excuse of seeking his statement. “The CID Crime Branch officers entered our bedroom while I was sleeping there, in full knowledge, shamelessly invading my privacy, despite Sanjiv having already met with them and changing to leave with them,” Shweta Bhatt says.
On September 6, the CID presented Sanjiv Bhatt in the Palanpur court in a 22-year-old case and asked for a remand of 14 days. The court refused to grant remand, observing, “There is no justifiable ground to grant the police remand at this stage”.
The magistrate’s strict application of the law was labeled by the state government as an “act of insubordination” and challenged in the High Court. The government’s appeal for Sanjiv’s remand was heard by the Gujarat High court which granted 10 days remand.
Sanjiv Bhatt moved the Supreme Court challenging the remand order granted by the high court. The hearing was scheduled for September 24. The Supreme Court moved the hearing of the appeal to October 4, by which time the remand period would already be over. He was moved from police custody to judicial custody. Observing that the remand period was already over, the Supreme Court directed Sanjiv’s lawyers to “move the appropriate court” for the bail application.
The bail application filed in the sessions court was heard by the judge. The state government, in an apparent attempt to further delay the process, requested for 10 days to prepare an affidavit challenging the bail application and to prepare themselves for the case despite already having Sanjiv Bhatt in remand for a period of 10 days in a 22 year old case, already heard and stayed by the Supreme Court and were subsequently granted time till October 16.
On October 16, the sessions court was supposed to hear Sanjiv’s bail application. The audience was scheduled at 10:30 am. Nevertheless, the government lawyers arrived at 3 pm. To further delay the hearings, they asked for another 10-days extension to prepare the case.
Thus, there was another 10-days’ extension in a 22-year old case, already heard and stayed by the Supreme Court 22 years ago. A case which, incidentally, used to be the State of Gujarat vs the State of Rajasthan, but which suddenly became the State of Gujarat vs Sanjiv Bhatt.
The session’s court rejected Sanjiv Bhatt’s bail plea on December 12, following which he appealed the High Court. However, Justice A Y Kogje recused himself from the case, and the matter is listed before the court of Justice SH Vora, who has issued a notice to the state government to file its reply by January 8.
However, on January 8 the matter suddenly gets transferred from Judge S H Vora and gets re-listed in the court of Justice Sonia Gokani.
Shweta Bhatt’s car is hit by a truck on January 7. That explains her paranoia.
---
*Senior Ahmedabad-based journalist

Comments

Anonymous said…
Admist the brouhaha of 'victimization', i would like to bury a few myths and exhume a few facts here-- Sanjiv Bhatt's illegal portion of house which was constructed without approval from civic authority has been demolished few months back. This was constructed on the common wall of his neighbor Pravin Patel, an NRI. When Bhatt started this ILLEGAL construction, Patel raised his objection as the construction extended to his land. But Bhatt turned him down saying - do whatever you can--an act of public boorishness. His neighbor Patel then complained about it to the municipal corporation. When civic authorities didn't act, he finally filed a civil case against this illegal construction in Gujarat high court in 2011. Finally the court rightly ruled in favor of Patel . So Mr Desai, why are you blaming the gov for this ?? Why should Bhatt's neighbor tolerate Bhatt's obscenity and public boorishness and tolerate Bhatt's illegal extension which trespassed his own property???
Sujay Shanker said…
The IITs produce people like Bhatt.They are all anti nationals.He should be hanged for the custodial death.Hindu lives do matter

TRENDING

Allow international human rights observers, media to access Kashmir: US lawmakers

Counterview Desk
In a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, two members of the American Congress, Pramila Jayapal and James McGovern, raising "significant concerns" about what they call "humanitarian and human rights crisis in Jammu & Kashmir”, quoting "credible reports" from journalists and advocates on the ground" have said that "the Indian government has detained thousands of people with no recourse, imposed de facto curfews on residents' and cut off internet and telephone access in the region.”

Rescind Gates Foundation award to Modi, demand three Nobel Peace laureates

Counterview Desk
In a major boost to those opposing the award to the Gates Foundation’s proposed to be awarded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, three Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Mairead Maguire (1976), Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman (2011) and Shirin Ebadi (2003), have in an open letter called upon Milinda and Bill Gates to withdraw their decision, stating Modi is allegedly involved in human rights violations.

US Kashmiri diaspora body: World leaders, UN 'not acting', India enjoys total impunity

Counterview Desk
Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly session, to begin on September 17 in New York, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, secretary-general of the World Kashmir Awareness Forum, a non-profit organization based in Ohio, US, claiming to focus on providing information on Kashmir, has regretted that despite "violent" behaviour of Indian authorities in Kashmir, they enjoy "total impunity" across the world.

Jharkhand riverine terminal: 485 families 'displaced', lose land, livelihood in Sahibgunj

Counterview Desk
Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposes to inaugurate on Thursday India’s second riverine Multi-Modal terminal (MMT) at Sahibganj in Jharkhand, built at a cost of Rs 290 crore reportedly in a record time of about two years, several civil rights organizations* have said that the government has failed to address the high-profile terminal’s social and environmental concerns.

Now clampdown on rally, arrest of pro-freedom activists in Pak-occupied Kashmir

Counterview Desk
In a fresh evidence, international human rights organizations are not just confining their attention on the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), whose special status was taken away by the Government of India in early August, leading to an unprecedented clampdown on the region. They have simultaneously begun focusing on the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), where the situation is said to be worsening.
Thus, the International Human Rights Council ((IHRC) Hong Kong (HK), a top human rights organisation, said to be working towards to the promotion peace, equality, fundamental rights and social justice “as enunciated in the UN Human Rights Charter and other instruments of human rights”, has noted now a new wave of independence movement has struck PoK.  With offices in US, UK, Switzerland and Hong Kong, and having Kirity Roy and Lenin Raghuvanshi as IHRC office bearers from India, in a statement, it has claimed that on September 7 one of the biggest pro-Independenc…

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canals, work for 13,889 km ha…

Karma tribal festival an occasional to campaign for tribal rights: IPMSDL

The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), in a solidarity statement has suggested that the current Karam festival of Central India -- which seeks to promote sisterhood, friendship, cultural unity, and closer link to nature -- should be the occasion to campaign against alleged efforts to violently drive away forest dwelling communities from their forest homes.
"Millions are threatened to lose lands and livelihood under the implementation of Forest Rights Act (FRA) of 2006", the statement States, adding, "As corporate interests continues to enter tribal territories and extract profit from its natural resources, indigenous people are pushed to further marginalization and discrimination."
Asserting that indigenous movement in India "remains steadfast in keeping their culture, deeply linked to their lands alive by carrying out their heritage and struggles", IPMSDL, even as extending "warmest greetings"…

South Gujarat wastewater carrying pipeline damaged, 'harming' farmlands

The pipeline carrying industrial wastewater to the Gulf of Khambhat from Jhagadia industrial estate in Bharuch district has been found to have damaged for the eighth time over the last one and a half months. The crack, says a local environmental organisation, has occurred at Hansot, endangering agricultural farms.

US Air Force expert smells regional security threat following Chandrayaan mission

Counterview Desk
A United States Air Force expert, writing on India’s Chandrayaan -2 mission, has expressed the apprehension that Indian moon probe’s “failure” won’t stop an Asian space race that “threatens regional security.” Affiliated with the US Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Wendy Whitman Cobb, who is Professor of Strategy and Security Studies, believes like other space powers, India may be “seeking to improve its technology”, but advances can “also bring greater security concerns.”
Currently, admits Cobb, “These efforts have been primarily civilian and peaceful in nature.” However, India’s turn toward the military uses of space, so much so that lately it has been developing its own military satellites providing services such as remote sensing, tracking and communications “with greater frequency” has begun to “concern” the neighbours.
In her disclosure statement to an article published in the e-journal “The Conversation” Cobb, however, states that whatever…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are about 180 units in in the to…