Suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, now sacked
Gujarat IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt who has been in suspension from 2011, was sacked by the state government on the ground of "unauthorized absence" from service. The termination was recommended by the Union Home Ministry last year. Bhatt in his Facebook post said that the government has removed him from service after conducting a "sham and ex parte" inquiry on completely "fabricated" charges.
Sanjiv Bhatt is a 1988 batch IPS officer of Gujarat cadre. In April 2011, Bhatt filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court accusing the then CM of Gujarat Narendra Modi, of "complicity in the 2002 riots". Bhatt contended that he attended meeting held by Modi where he asked police officials to let Hindus vent their anger against the minority community following the Godhra incident.
On 27 Feb 2002, Sabarmati Express train was set on fire near Godhra railway station in Gujarat, killing 59 people. Most of the victims were Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya after a religious ceremony at the disputed Babri Masjid site.
The Gujarat government suspended the police officer Sanjiv Bhatt. He was served a five-page suspension letter by the state Home Department, charging him of unauthorised absence, non-appearance before a departmental panel and alleged misuse of the official vehicle. Bhatt also alleged that Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe details on riots cases were leaked to a top law officer of the state government.
Sanjiv Bhatt was arrested based on FIR lodged by constable KD Panth, once his driver. Panth alleged that Bhatt had "threatened and forced" him to sign the "false affidavit" to support the officer's claim that he was present at the meeting in the CM's residence on 27 February 2002. Bhatt was later granted bail on condition to cooperate with investigations into allegations against him.
In Feb 2012, after the SC-appointed SIT in its final report gave a clean chit to Narendra Modi, Sanjiv Bhatt accused the state government and the SIT of "destroying" records related to 2002 post-Godhra riots.
A Gujarat court ruled that there was no evidence to suggest that Narendra Modi colluded with police and government officials to fan the Gujarat communal violence. The verdict means that the court has rejected the testimony of Sanjiv Bhatt, who claimed otherwise. The four-member SIT headed by former CBI director RK Raghavan said that Mr Bhatt had "forged evidence to malign the state government."
Mr. Bhatt was implicated in several cases including 1990 police atrocity case involving a custodial death and a show cause notice in Aug 2015, alleging him of having an illicit affair.
Confirming his termination from service, Sanjiv Bhatt tweeted, "Finally removed from service today after serving 27 years in the Indian Police Service. Once again eligible for employment. :) Any takers?"