Court not convinced he is not cooperating in the investigation

The Ahmedabad sessions court on Friday granted anticipatory bail to advocate Vijay Kanara, who had drafted an affidavit filed by constable K.D. Panth before the Supreme-Court-appointed amicus curiae but was later made a co-accused in the Gujarat cadre IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt case.

Rejecting the objections raised by the Gujarat government, Judge V.K. Vyas said he was granting the advocate anticipatory bail because the court was not convinced of Mr. Panth's complaint, in which Mr. Kanara had been cited as a witness.

Disagreeing with the prosecution's objections that Mr. Kanara was not co-operating in the investigation, Mr. Vyas pointed out that the police had already questioned him thrice at different places and he had allowed the police to seize his laptop, some documents and some other materials. “How can you say that he is not co-operating in the investigation?”

Mr. Vyas had granted bail to Mr. Bhatt on Monday on almost similar grounds. He felt the constable's complaint that the IPS officer “threatened and forced him” to sign the “false affidavit” was not very convincing.

Mr. Kanara had filed the anticipatory bail application after the police added the charge of conspiracy against Mr. Bhatt, with Mr. Kanara and State Congress president Arjun Modhwadia being named co-accused. The police had claimed that the trio had hatched a “conspiracy” to force Mr. Panth to file a false affidavit in support of the IPS officer's claim of having been present in the crucial meeting held by Chief Minister Narendra Modi on the night of February 27, 2002, in which he reportedly “directed” the police to go soft on the Hindu rioters.

Mr. Modhwadia said he would not file any anticipatory bail plea. Claiming that dragging his name into the controversy was “politically motivated,” he denied that Mr. Panth had ever met him. He said he was not in favour of filing a petition in the court for quashing the complaint and instead would support an investigation into the entire episode by an independent agency so that the people behind the politically motivated move were exposed.

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