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Sanjiv Bhatt's wife alleges harassment by police

Suspended Indian police officer Sanjeev Bhatt, center, is escorted after his arrest by police in Ahmadabad, India, Friday Sept. 30, 2011. Bhatt, who has accused Gujarat state Chief Minister Narendra Modi of complicity in post-Godhra riots, was arrested on Friday in connection with a complaint regarding coercion of a subordinate, according to news reports. The 2002 Godhra riots was one of India's worst outbursts of violence between Hindus and Muslims. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)   | Photo Credit: Ajit Solanki

Shweta Bhatt, wife of the arrested IPS officer, Sanjiv Bhatt, on Saturday alleged “police harassment,” following repeated searches at their residence, and sent letters to the Director-General of Police, the city Police Commissioner and the judicial magistrate, Ahmedabad rural, expressing concern over her husband's safety.

In her letter, Ms. Bhatt said she was apprehensive of her husband's security as he had been handed over to the Crime Branch police, which had a “bad record of fake encounters” in the past. She expressed anguish that she was not allowed to meet her husband and said Mr. Bhatt was not allowed to talk even to his lawyer while in police custody. She pointed out that even the hardened criminals were allowed to take the assistance of their lawyers during police interrogation and wondered why an IPS officer was not given permission to meet his family members and lawyers.

The Ahmedabad rural court on Saturday declined to grant police remand for Mr. Bhatt and sent him to judicial custody.

In its remand application, the police told the court that the IPS officer was not “co-operating” in the investigation and they required Mr. Bhatt's custody at least for seven days to question him closely on the affidavits he had filed before the Supreme Court and the Gujarat High Court, the G.T. Nanavati-Akshay Mehta Judicial Enquiry Commission and other forum, the materials “recovered” from his house, including some documents, computers and electronic gadgets.

Mr. Bhatt's counsel Sohail Tirmizi told the court that the affidavits filed by Mr. Bhatt were in the public domain and there was no need for any remand. The court was also told that the complaint, on the basis of which Mr. Bhatt was arrested on Friday, had already been challenged by the IPS officer in the Supreme Court and the issue was pending before it.

Mr. Bhatt was arrested on Friday following a police complaint by Mr. Panth, who was the IPS officer's official driver while he was Deputy Superintendent in the State Intelligence Branch in 2002, alleging that he was “threatened and forced” to sign an affidavit before the amicus curiae in support of Mr. Bhatt's claim that he was present at a meeting convened by Chief Minister Narendra Modi on the night of February 27, 2002. Mr. Panth also claimed that Mr. Bhatt had taken him to the residence of State Congress president Arjun Modhvadia to “convince” him that the Modi government would not last long and he should sign the affidavit in support of Mr. Bhatt. Mr. Modhvadia, however, denied ever having met Mr. Panth.

Mr. Modhvadia alleged that the IPS officer was arrested only to “prevent” him from providing to the courts any more evidence against Mr. Modi and the former Minister of State for Home, Amit Shah. He said that after Mr. Bhatt's affidavit before the High Court earlier this week alleging indirect the involvement of Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah in the murder of another former Minister of State for Home, Haren Pandya, Mr. Modi should have ordered the police to thoroughly investigate Mr. Bhatt's charges, but instead he ordered his arrest to stop him from dropping any more bombshells.

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