Says the Ahmedabad Crime Branch treated him like a terrorist while in custody
Reiterating her apprehension about the safety of her arrested husband, Shweta Bhatt, wife of arrested IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, on Thursday dashed off another letter to Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, complaining that he was treated like a terrorist while in the custody of the Ahmedabad Crime Branch Police.
Levelling a series of complaints against the State police, Ms. Bhatt in her letter claimed that she and other family members of Mr. Bhatt were also being harassed and ill-treated by the police apparently to send a message to all that anyone who dared to stand up against Chief Minister Narendra Modi would be subjected to such suffering.
Ms. Bhatt detailed the insulting treatment meted out to her during the search operations conducted at her place last Friday and the way Mr. Bhatt was treated in the Crime Branch lock-up underscoring her fear for her husband's safety.
“Policemen were behaving like criminals not observing any lawful procedures, searching personal effects in a bid to terrorise and humiliate me and my family,” she wrote. “This was clearly intended as a message to my husband that this is what your family will go through for the stand you have taken,” she added. Ms. Bhatt said about 35 men landed at her house without any warrant and carried out a search which yielded nothing. The policemen told her that they had many orders against Mr. Bhatt but were carrying out only a few. “If we have followed all, imagine what would have happened,” the police claimed to have told Ms Bhatt.
She said Mr. Bhatt was kept in a “dingy, filthy, stinking room” in the custody of the Ahmedabad Crime Branch in Gaekwad Haveli station, and appended a compact disc with his images in the lock-up provided to her by some ‘insider.' “My husband is not a criminal or a serial offender, why is he being treated like a terrorist?,” she asked.
Ms. Bhatt in her earlier letter to Mr. Chidambaram requested the Centre's intervention. Following her letter, the Centre directed the State government to ensure security for Mr. Bhatt and his family and the Union Home Ministry also decided to carry out an independent survey to assess the perception of threat to the IPS officer. The decision was taken even after Director General of Police Chittaranjan Singh had ruled out any threat to his life.
Meanwhile, both Mr. Bhatt's bail application and the government's revision petition for his police remand are scheduled to be heard by the trial court on Friday.