The Supreme Court Friday stayed the trial of Gujarat police officer Sanjiv Bhatt, facing charges of coercing his official driver to make a false statement in connection with the alleged inaction of the Narendra Modi government during the 2002 riots in the state.

The Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Desai stayed the proceedings against Bhatt after he pleaded that the case against him was fabricated and was a consequence of political vendetta.

Mr. Bhatt has sought investigation by an independent agency into the allegations.

It was alleged that Mr. Bhatt had pressured his driver K.D. Pant to tell a court that he drove the Gujarat cadre Indian Police Service officer to the Chief Minister’s residence Feb 27, 2002.

Mr. Bhatt had claimed that in the meeting held at the Chief Minister’s residence that day, Mr. Modi told senior administration officials not to act against rioters.

Mr. Pant subsequently rejected the statement that he drove Mr. Bhatt to the Chief Minister’s residence and said he had made his earlier statement under pressure from the police officer.

At present Mr. Bhatt is under suspension and lives in Gandhinagar.

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