A key witness in the case against the suspended Gujarat cadre IPS officer, Sanjiv Bhatt, is said to be “missing.”

According to the police, Shrenikbhai Shah, a family friend of Mr. Bhatt, left his home at Chandkheda here on Tuesday night and has been “missing” since then. Initially, the family members thought that he had gone to a temple at Mahudi in Gandhinagar district for Diwali rituals but as he did not return home, they lodged a complaint on Thursday. The police said an intensive search had been launched.

Mr. Shah was claimed to be present along with Mr. Bhatt when constable K. D. Panth signed an affidavit before the Supreme Court-appointed amicus curiae on June 16 in support of the IPS officer's claim that he was present at a crucial meeting convened by Chief Minister Narendra Modi on February 27, 2002, following the Godhra train carnage. It was alleged that at that meeting Modi “directed” the police to “allow Hindus to vent their anger” against the minorities.