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2002 riots: Gujarat rubbishes sacked IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's allegations in SC

New Delhi: The Gujarat government today rubbished in the Supreme Court the claim of sacked IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt that he was present at a meeting to discuss law and order situation during the 2002
PTI September 24, 2015 0:03 IST
PTI

New Delhi: The Gujarat government today rubbished in the Supreme Court the claim of sacked IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt that he was present at a meeting to discuss law and order situation during the 2002 communal violence at residence of the then Chief Minister.

"The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) had come to the conclusion that the petitioner (Bhatt) was not present at all in the February 27 meeting," Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the state, told the court which reserved its verdict on the pleas of the dismissed IPS officer.

Bhatt had recently filed two interim applications seeking a SIT probe into allegation of misuse of state machinery during 2002 post-Godhra riots and the alleged roles of top BJP and RSS functionaries and some senior bureaucrats.

The counsel for the state referred to the contents of various communications of Bhatt, then Deputy Commissioner (Security), and told the bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice Arun Mishra that the officer was in constant touch with Congress leader and the then Leader of Opposition in Gujarat assembly and some top journalists.

"An unsolicited affidavit was tendered in the Supreme Court and that was an attempt to mislead the court," he said, alleging that Bhatt had showed an affidavit to a journalist who advised additions which were incorporated as well.

Read Also: Sacked on Basis of 'Sham, Ex-Parte' Inquiry: Sanjiv Bhatt

The SG, assisted by Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, alleged that Bhatt was in "constant touch" with certain Congress party leaders, activist Teesta Setalwad and top media professionals.

Earlier during the day, senior advocate Indira Jaising and lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Bhatt, alleged collusion among top state government functionaries, the then Additional Advocate General, the then minister of state for home and some lawyers for the accused and sought court-monitored SIT probe into Bhatt's claims.

Jaising said that a SIT probe, instead of seeking CBI investigation, was needed to inquire into the "collusion of the highest order" as the then Chief Minister is now the Prime Minister and the then AAG is now the Additional Solicitor General of India.

Senior advocate L Nageshwar Rao, appearing for then Additional Advocate General Tushar Mehta, alleged that Bhatt was trying to revive whatever happened since 2002.

The SC-appointed SIT probed nine cases, convictions have taken place in some and appeals have also been filed against them, he said.

"The attempt is to revive what happened since 2002 and has been settled. They have nothing to say blameworthy and unethical on the part of Tushar Mehta and he cannot be blamed for impeding the end of justice," he said.

Rao said the apex court had said the SIT probe was an extra-ordinary measure and moreover, Jaising was seeking CBI probe into Vyapam scam and here, a demand for SIT is made.

"In Vyapam case, Indira Jaising asked for CBI probe and had no complaints against the CBI that it was under the supervision of the present government at the Centre.

"The earlier government faced several charges of corruption and who investigated the cases. It was the CBI which was the only premier agency to investigate all those cases of scams. Everybody asked for CBI investigation," he said.

The bench later stopped Jaising from referring to Vyapam scam saying that matter is "sub judice" and lawyers should not comment about it.

Rao claimed if the demand of Bhatt for a SIT probe was accepted, there would be flooding of frivolous pleas like this in the apex court.

On alleged hacking of Mehta's mails, the lawyer said, "He (Bhatt) betrayed me. Betrayed my friendship and caused so much of agony to me... nobody is listening to his hacking of e-mails."

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Gujarat police constable K D Panth who had lodged an FIR against Bhatt, said the credibility of the former IPS officer is "doubtful" and there are several cases against him.

On allegations against some SIT members, Singh said, "I had represented some members of the SIT. I experienced that it was the easiest thing to make allegations against the SIT members even if there was nothing against them. This court never doubted any members whether it was the Chairman or any other member."

"Panth was forced to give affidavit by Bhatt who threatened him and said that Modi is not going to stay for long as the Chief Minister," he said.