Gujarat cadre IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, whose affidavit in the Supreme Court against Chief Minister Narendra Modi created a flutter, has accused the State government of trying to instil fear among witnesses of 2002 communal riots. He declined to make any comment on the Supreme Court not agreeing to take his affidavit on record on Thursday.
The controversy over his security guards, termination of service of a head constable in Kutch district only because he “praised” the IPS officer's “courage” to speak up against Mr. Modi, and the State government seeking wider publicity about Thursday's developments in the Supreme Court claiming it to be a sort of rebuff to Mr. Bhatt and the main petitioner, Zakia Jaffrey, wife of the slain former Congress MP Ehsan Jaffrey, were cited by Mr. Bhatt as examples of the State government trying to “instil fear” among the witnesses.
For the first time, Gujarat government's Information Commissionerate in Delhi issued a release detailing the Supreme Court order on Ms. Jaffrrey's petition, which was forwarded to all media establishments here.
In a surprise development, the services of a head constable posted in Kutch, Naresh Brahmbhatt, was terminated, ostensibly for carrying out alleged union activities, after he issued a poster carrying his own and Mr. Bhatt's pictures with a congratulatory note for the IPS officer for the “courage to stand up for the truth.”
According to district superintendent of police Jitendra Rajgor, Mr. Brahmbhatt was carrying on union activities “illegally” despite being cautioned against it. He also admitted that the issuance of the poster with the congratulatory note did not go down well with the superiors and that he had been told not to do such things. But the head constable refused to pay heed.
Mr. Brahmbhatt disagreed that he had done anything wrong and threatened to approach the court against his termination if his appeal to Director-General of Police Chittaranjan Singhfor reconsideration did not yield fruits. He claimed that the union he was running had already been validated by the Gujarat High Court though the State government was yet to recognise it. There was also nothing wrong in “saluting” Mr. Bhatt for the courage he had displayed. “How many officers in the department would dare to disclose the wrong doings,” he asked.
While Mr. Bhatt was again unhappy for “partial withdrawal” of his security guard, the DGP denied there was any re-thinking. He said his security cover was “doubled” from one armed constable to two a couple of days ago as per the State government rules which would mean detailing four persons in two shifts but the Ahmedabad police by mistake had sent four additional armed guards to his Ahmedabad residence at a time making it five persons. The additional three armed guards were withdrawn the next morning as the mistake was noticed and there was no question of any further reducing Mr Bhatt's security cover, Mr. Singh said.