Centre’s intervention comes after officer’s wife writes to Chidambaram
New Delhi, 4 October 2011. The Union government on Tuesday asked the Gujarat government to provide adequate security to IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt, who was arrested after he accused Chief Minister Narendra Modi of complicity in the 2002 post-Godhra massacre.
The Centre’s intervention came after Mr. Bhatt’s wife, Shweta Bhatt, wrote to Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, expressing the fear that he could be “physically ill-treated” and that there was a “danger to his life” from a “vindictive administration.” She also asked for protection for the Bhatt family.
Home Secretary R.K. Singh convened a high-level meeting to take stock of Ms. Bhatt’s complaint, shortly after which an official said: “The Home Ministry has written to the Gujarat government to ensure adequate security to Mr. Bhatt and his family as per local threat perception. We are also independently carrying out threat assessment at our level.”
Mr. Bhatt was arrested on September 30 after an FIR was filed against him by police constable K.D. Pant, who was Mr. Bhatt’s driver. Mr. Pant accused Mr. Bhatt of threatening and forcing him to sign a “false” affidavit on the contents of a meeting called by Mr. Modi on February 27, 2002, soon after the Godhra train carnage.
In his bail application, Mr. Bhatt said he had been framed at the behest of political functionaries and senior police officers. Mr. Pant appeared to be following “diktats” from political members of the State government, he added. His arrest, Mr. Bhatt alleged, was aimed at getting hold of the evidence he had about Mr. Modi’s role in the 2002 communal riots, and destroying it.
In her letter to Mr. Chidambaram, Ms. Bhatt wrote: “My husband has been victimised and arrested merely because a few politicians apprehended serious action against them because of the evidence Sanjeev is likely to give in the pending criminal cases.”