Bhatt is currently in judicial custody in connection with a two-decade-old case while his family has alleged a threat to their lives from BJP workers
The Supreme Court, on Friday (February 8), refused to entertain sacked Gujarat cadre IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt’s plea seeking security for his family. The top court’s bench of Justices AK Sikri and S Abdul Nazeer, instead asked Bhatt’s counsel to approach the Gujarat High Court with the request.
Bhatt has been in judicial custody for over six months in connection with his alleged role in a 22-year-old drug planting case. Bhatt was arrested on September 5 last year by the Gujarat police’s crime investigation department (CID) in a case filed by a Rajasthan-based lawyer, Sumer Singh Rajpurohit, back in 1996. Singh had accused Bhatt and six others, of framing him a narcotics case.
On October 4, the apex court had dismissed a plea filed by Bhatt’s wife and Gujarat Congress leader Shweta Bhatt, challenging the police probe and judicial custody awarded to her husband in the two-decade-old case. The apex court had held it was not appropriate for it to interfere in the ongoing investigation.
On January 7, Shweta and her son narrowly survived a car accident in Ahmedabad. Shweta has insinuated that the accident was an intimidation tactic by the BJP as her husband has been a vocal critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and had risen into limelight several years ago when he claimed that as chief minister of Gujarat in 2002, Modi was directly involved in the planning of the post-Godhra anti-Muslim riots. Shweta, it may be recalled, had unsuccessfully contested assembly election as a Congress party candidate against Narendra Modi from Gujarat’s Maninagar constituency in 2012.
Shortly after the January 7 accident, Shweta had said: “My son and I saw death from very close quarters. A massive dumper appearing from behind us, hit our car from the driver’s side on the busy roads of IIM, instantly crushing the vehicle and flinging it across the street over the divider of the road. While trapped behind the wheels of the crushed, uncontrollably spiralling car, my mind was engulfed with some very unpleasant and undesirable negative thoughts. In that moment, it was the possibility of losing my son rather than my own life that shook me to the core. It is only a miracle that we survived with nothing but a few cuts, sprains and bruises (sic).”
Shweta added: “The accident happened just a day before the scheduled hearing (of Sanjiv Bhatt’s bail plea) in the Gujarat High Court… there was no number plate on the dumper nor were any vehicle registration or identification papers available. Such are the times, that one cannot help but wonder about the conspicuous timing of the accident. If the purpose of this incident was to scare us or break Sanjiv Bhatt, then all I’d like to say is that we may be shaken, but not scared.”
Sanjiv Bhatt had moved the apex court, through his counsel, demanding adequate security for his family members soon after the January 7 accident.
—India Legal Bureau