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Wednesday, 14 October 2015

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has slammed sacked IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's claims about a 'collusion' between high State functionaries in the then Narendra Modi government and the Gujarat prosecution to save the 2002 Godhra riots accused, including present BJP president Amit Shah.

The 76-page judgement, delivered on Monday, focused its attack on Bhatt and accused him of coming to the apex court with unclean hands.

Condemning his conduct, the court said it did not befit a senior police officer. It said Bhatt was in close touch with 'top rival political leaders of Gujarat' in the background of the 2002 riots, and his actions were directed against the then Gujarat government.

'Petitioner probably forgot he was senior IPS officer,' a bench of Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice Arun Mishra said, and added that he should have 'kept away from all politics and activism of creating pressure'. It accused Bhatt of exploiting the media, and even pressurising the Supreme Court's three-judge bench monitoring the Godhra riots cases, the court-appointed Special Investigation Team investigating the cases and the amicus curiae.

'It is apparent that the petitioner acted in deliberation and consultation with the leaders of rival political party, NGOs. Petitioner, in spite of being a senior IPS officer, was interacting with the top rival political leaders of Gujarat. He had exchanged e-mails with rival political party leaders and was being tutored by the lawyer of NGO and its activists. Ghost questions and answers were also prepared as to what the petitioner was required to speak before Justice Nanavati Commission,' Justice Mishra, who wrote the judgment for the bench, observed.

The verdict said Bhatt's claims about being present in a high-level meeting called by then Gujarat Chief Minister Modi on 27 February 2002 after the Godhra train attack in which 59 persons were killed was not credible: SIT has already concluded he was not present at the meeting.

Bhatt had claimed that he was present in the meeting, held in the immediate aftermath of the Sabarmati Express burning incident, as an intelligence officer and heard Modi pass some remarks. Calling his bluff, the court said Bhatt kept quiet for nine whole years and then started exchanging e-mails with some others to ascertain and re-create their movements on that particular night to give the false impression that he was with them at the meeting.

The court dismissed his plea to make BJP president Amit Shah, then Gujarat Additional Advocate General Tushar Mehta, then senior Gujarat officials G C Murmu and Pranav Badekha and journalist Gurumurthy Swaminathan answerable for the 'unholy nexus between the prosecuting agency and the higher echelons of Gujarat government' in sensational cases ranging from Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case to the riots cases.

The judges further directed that two FIRs registered against Bhatt in Gujarat, earlier stayed by the Supreme Court, be proceeded 'in accordance with law'.

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