HC stays trial against Sanjiv Bhatt in custodial torture case

Ahmedabad. April  23, 2013

The Gujarat High Court today temporarily stayed the trial against suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt in a 16-year-old case of custodial torture in Porbandar.

Justice S R Brahmabhatt ordered stay till further orders and fixed the hearing in the first week of May.

Bhatt, who was posted as SP in Porbandar in 1997, and constable Vajubhai Chau, are facing a trial for alleged custodial torture of a history-sheeter called Naran Sudha Jadav.

Jadav was arrested by Inspector M J Parmar while investigating a case of smuggling of weapons and RDX from Pakistan, and taken to Porbandar from Sabarmati Central jail in Ahmedabad in July 1997.

Jadav later filed a complaint before the judicial magistrate in Porbandar, accusing Bhatt and Chau of custodial torture.

Last year, Bhatt had filed an application before the magistrate, seeking case diaries of the investigation officer.

The magistrate, in September, rejected Bhatt’s application, against which he went to the high court.

Bhatt has been in news in the recent past for making allegations against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi regarding handling of the 2002 riots.


Gujarat HC issues notice to state over Sanjiv Bhatt’s plea

Sanjiv Bhatt
Saeed Khan, TNN | Apr 6, 2013, 01.49 PM IST

Sanjiv Bhatt, who was posted as SP in Porbandar then, along with a constable Vajubhai Chau is being tried for the custodial a known historysheeter Naran Sudha Jadav.


AHMEDABAD: Gujarat high court has issued notice to the state government on a plea filed by suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who has sought permission to place a case diary of the RDX landing case to defend himself in a custodial torture case in Porbandar.

Bhatt, who was posted as SP in Porbandar then, along with a constable Vajubhai Chau is being tried for the custodial a known historysheeter Naran Sudha Jadav. The inmate was taken to Porbandar from Sabarmati central jail in Ahmedabad in 1998 in connection with investigation of a Tada case related to the RDX landing. Jadav later filed a complaint accusing Bhatt and Chau of custodial torture.

A case in this regard began in Porbandar’s magisterial court. Last year, the high court vacated a stay from the trial. As the trial began, Bhatt argued that all three witnesses in the trial were prisoners and the investigating officer should be made an independent witness and his case diary should be placed before the court as evidence in his defence.

The Porbandar court rejected Bhatt’s application, and this led him to move the HC. During a proceeding, Justice S R Brahmbhatt questioned whether the state government was interested in the case against the suspended IPS officer. Bhatt has alleged that in order to fix him, the state government has been defending Jadav, who is a security suspect and has been implicated in various serious offences of murder, waging war against the nation and a Tada case.

The court has sought the state government’s reply by Monday, when further hearing is scheduled.

Bhatt is also facing trial in a custodial torture case in Jamnagar district.

Bhatt implicated chief minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots by giving a statement before the special investigation team (SIT) and b


The tale of two women who have taken on Gujarat’s “Iron Man” #NarendraModi

Smita Gupta, Ahemdabad, Dec 10,2012

  • Jagruti Pandya
    PTI Jagruti Pandya
  • Shweta Bhatt
    PTI Shweta Bhatt

It is 8.30 a.m. on Saturday in the middle class area of Chandra Nagar. Jagruti Pandya, widow of former Gujarat Home Minister Haren Pandya, who was murdered in 2003, is doing a walkabout. She is the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) candidate from the posh Ellisbridge constituency, which her late husband represented, and her decision to use this election to focus on the fact that all those charged with her husband’s brutal killing were let off last year, has created a ripple of interest. Her workers are a mix of friends and former BJP workers who have shifted allegiance to the GPP, led by the former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, who too walked out of the BJP.

In Maninagar — Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency — his challenger, the Congress candidate Shweta Bhatt, the wife of IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt, who has allegedly been victimised for making revelations about the role of Mr. Modi and his administration in the anti-Muslim pogrom in 2002, draws attention to injustice in the State: “If I win, it will be a victory for Gujarat; if I lose, Gujarat will lose,” she says with a theatrical turn of phrase.

As both women campaign — Ms. Bhatt in an SUV, Ms. Pandya on foot — door-to-door, people come out on to their balconies, some onto the streets. For these self-declared homemakers who have thus far had nothing to do with politics — even Ms. Pandya stresses she has never accompanied her late husband on the election trail — both answer questions with ease, their storylines smooth. They are also picture perfect — Ms. Pandya, serene, scrubbed face, subdued in a grey silk sari with the yellow GPP scarf draped over her shoulders; Ms. Bhatt effervescent in a bright red maheshwari sari, a big bindi on her forehead.

Neither Ms. Pandya, nor Ms. Bhatt is likely to win, say locals. But in an election in which the communal carnage of 2002 is not an issue, with the Congress tiptoeing around it lest it awaken old ghosts, the fact that these women have left the sanctuary of their homes to enter politics is the only reminder of the terrible happenings of a decade ago, and of Mr. Modi’s role in them.

The two women could not differ more in their ideological persuasions — Ms. Pandya considers the BJP-RSS combine as her family, while Ms. Bhatt says she accepted the Congress ticket as the party’s ideology matched her own. They refuse to say very much about the other, only stressing that the other is doing what she thinks is right. “All these years, I sought justice from the legal system. I failed,” Ms. Pandya stresses that “the BJP was Haren’s family, but he was let down. So I am contesting this election to seek justice in the court of the people.”

As she walks through the compounds of local cooperative housing societies, microphone in hand, she looks up at the balconies, introduces herself as Haren Pandya’s widow, reminds them of his work in the area and asks for their votes as shradhanjali [homage].

Mr. Pandya’s killing was always regarded as a political murder. While the prosecution’s case was that he had been killed by assailants from Hyderabad to avenge the anti-Muslim riots of 2002, it is well-known that he was the Minister who had secretly deposed before the Citizen’s Tribunal on the riots, making revelations that were not yet in the public domain. At a cabinet meeting, he had reportedly advocated against bringing bodies of the victims of the Godhra carnage to Ahmedabad, as he thought that would trigger off a violent response. But he was apparently shouted down at the meeting. Whatever the reason, Mr. Modi sacked him in July 2002, and ensured that he did not get the ticket from his Ellisbridge constituency in the Assembly elections later that year. After being forced out of electoral politics, Mr. Pandya was trying to figure out his next move when he was killed in Ahmedabad’s Law Gardens. His body was found in his car.

In Ms. Bhatt’s case, her husband is known for his role in filing an affidavit in the Supreme Court against Mr. Modi for his alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots. She says she is fighting to protest against the harassment of her husband and family, and to make it possible once again for the people of Gujarat to speak their minds: “There is no freedom of speech in Gujarat, I am fighting for that,” she says, adding that she is also focusing on the lack of development in Mr. Modi’s constituency.

In Congress circles, there has been much debate about fielding Ms. Bhatt, as it might be seen as the party “owning” Mr. Bhatt and undermining his credibility and his fight against Mr. Modi. But others felt that this was the closest the party could risk in making a statement about Mr. Modi’s alleged role in the 2002 riots.

The common thread that binds the battles being waged by these two women, whose world views differ so greatly, is that they have both dared to put the spotlight on a man most people in Gujarat regard as invincible and all-powerful. No small achievement, regardless of whether they win or lose their elections.


Gujarat govt admits some documents related to 2002 riots were destroyed #NarendraModi

Published: Friday, Nov 2, 2012, 21:04 IST
Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: PTI


The Gujarat government has admitted before Justice GT Nanavati Commission that some documents related to 2002 post-Godhra riots were destroyed by it ‘in routine course’.

This was disclosed today in an order passed by the Commission on an application filed by suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who had sought inspection of certain sensitive documents pertaining to the riots.

In its order today, the Commission referred to the letter received from the office of Additional Director General (Intelligence) on October 18, 2012 which said, “Some of the documents sought for inspection have been destroyed in routine course and they are not available for producing them before this Commission”.

Referring to the letter, the Commission today directed the state government to file an affidavit.

“A responsible officer of the Government should put this fact in an affidavit for final clarification,” the Commission said.

With the state seeking time to file an affidavit till November 6, the Commission has scheduled further hearing in the case on November 7 when it may decide the question of relevance of those documents for examination by Bhatt.

Defending the government, counsel for the state government today argued that, “those documents were falling in the Category ‘G’ and it is a routine procedure not to keep them beyond one year.”

Last year also, a senior counsel appearing for the state government had told the media that documents sought by Bhatt were already destroyed. The state government, however, had denied that documents were destroyed.

Responding to the state government’s admission, Bhatt said today, “This is evidence of systematic effort to destroy sensitive documents pertaining to 2002 riots which can corroborate the complicity of the state machinery.”

Bhatt, who alleged complicity of Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots, had sought inspection of certain documents to file an affidavit before the Commission probing the riots cases, in support of his allegations.

The Commission had denied him access to those documents. Bhatt then filed a PIL before the High Court last month which accepted his plea and allowed him access to those documents.

Incidentally, during the course of the hearing on his PIL, Advocate General of the state had assured the court that documents sought by Bhatt would be submitted soon.

When Bhatt sought access to 47 documents for inspection based on the court order, only 16 were produced and state has opposed the access to others by citing provisions of the Gujarat Police Manual. PTI ADT PD ABC SMI RYS 11022053 NNNN


Suspension of IPS Sanjiv Bhatt revoked #goodnews

PTI, OCT 1, 2012

AHMEDABAD: On the recommendation of the Union home ministry, the Gujarat government on Monday revoked suspension of IPS officerSanjiv Bhatt in one of three cases against him.

“However, as Bhatt has also been put under suspension in two other cases, he will remain under suspension till those cases are pending,” said state’s principal secretary (Home) S K Nanda.

Bhatt, who alleged complicity of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots, was placed under suspension by the Home Department in exercise of powers conferred by Rule 3(1) of All India Services (Discipline and Appeals) Rules, 1969 on August 8, 2011.

The specific reasons cited against him were unauthorised absence from duty, non-appearance before a departmental panel and alleged misuse of official vehicle while he was posted as SRP training school principal in Junagadh district.

“His suspension has been revoked in this particular case,” Nanda said.

“The central review committee which had met on August 6, 2012 was of the opinion that the proposal of the state government for further extension of Bhatt’s suspension beyond one year may be rejected,” a ministry of home affairs communication sent to Bhatt by the state home department said.

“The state government has considered the recommendations of central review committee carefully and decided to accept the same and revoke suspension of Bhatt with effect from August 8 this year,” Nanda said.

However, he remains suspended from the service in a criminal case where he has been accused for forcing his former constable to file a forged affidavit in which he had spend six days in police custody.


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