Digging up more old cases against the suspended Gujarat cadre IPS officer, Sanjiv Bhatt, the State CID (Crime) is believed to have “unearthed” financial irregularities to the tune of over Rs. 20 crore by him and a retired IPS officer, R.M.S. Brar.
The police sources said the issue was related to the period between 2006 and 2010, when Mr. Bhatt was posted in the State civil defence department under Mr. Brar, the additional Director-General of Police, who retired last year.
The civil defence department had requisitioned purchase of some sirens to be installed in all the district and taluka headquarters for cautioning people during a war emergency or an impending natural disaster.
A purchase committee was set up to decide on the tenders submitted and this included a Bangalore-based private company.
The sources said the committee had rejected the Bangalore-based company because it had been earlier black-listed by the Centre, which provides 75 per cent of the expenses of the department with the State spending the rest. But, the department authorities bypassed the report of the committee and recommended the Bangalore-based company to Mr. Brar, who then approved the deal. Some 500 sirens were purchased from the company at a cost of over Rs. 20 crore between 2006 and 2010.
The sources said since the company was black-listed and the Centre would not approve, the entire purchase of sirens was made from the State government's share, due to which it took four years to complete the deal.
When the matter came to the knowledge of the State Home department last year, it asked the then in-charge of the civil defence department, P.B. Gondia, to look into the matter and on his report, asked the State CID (Crime) to hold a detailed inquiry. The sources said the CID (Crime) had submitted its report to the Home department, alleging financial irregularities in the purchase of sirens by Mr. Bhatt and Mr. Brar. It would now be up to the Home department to decide whether it would file a criminal complaint against the IPS officers and order departmental proceedings against them.
Mr. Bhatt said he was not aware of any financial irregularities in the purchase and he was being “framed” but he said he would be ready to give written answers to these charges also.
He said Mr. Gondia was known to be a “pro-establishment” police officer in the Narendra Modi regime and the State government could get any kind of report from him as “wanted by it.”
The Ahmedabad Sessions court has already issued fresh summons to Mr. Bhatt on the basis of yet another complaint lodged against him, allegedly for “filing wrong information to avoid summons issued to him.” The complaint with the additional charge was filed by the investigating officer, Additional Commissioner of Police N. C. Patel, inquiring into the complaint of police constable K.D. Panth against the suspended officer for allegedly “threatening and forcing” him to file a “false affidavit.”
Mr. Patel filed the complaint under sections 172 and 177 of the Indian Penal Code in the court of Additional District Sessions judge B.G. Joshi, claiming that Mr. Bhatt refused to respond to four summons issued to him for questioning regarding Mr. Panth's complaint. He was finally directed to appear before the police on September 30 but refused saying he would be required to appear before the G.T. Nanavati-Akshay Mehta judicial inquiry commission on that day.
Upon investigation, the police found that he did not appear before the commission on that day and in the process provided misinformation to the investigating officer. Mr. Bhatt was placed under arrest the same evening and was in jail till the court approved his bail application on October 17.
The date for his appearing before the court on the fresh charge of misleading information would be decided later.