Today it’s the birthday of a former Indian Police Service officer Sanjiv Bhatt of the Gujarat-cadre, he turned 57 and languishing in jail. His fans believe that he is been punished for being critical of Modi for his role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, there are thousands of criminals roaming around but selective people are picked and penalized. Bhatt is one of those whom Shah and Modi cannot stand. Many consider that is paying a price for his integrity, steadfastness, and fearlessness. He dared to speak the truth and stood up against the false and evil politicians. His biggest fan following is Muslims and leftists, right-wingers troll him to death and they leave no stone unturned to attack him. In November 2013 Bhatt alleged that city police was not providing him adequate security, and there was an increased threat to his and his family members’ lives from the “right-wing fundamentalists and the supporters of Narendra Modi”. The office of Commissioner of Police Shivanand Jha said that after the assessment of threat perception, it was decided that Bhatt should be provided with two armed personal security officers. However, Bhatt wrote to the commissioner, saying that he was being “provided with only one armed PSO”.
He is known for his role in filing an affidavit in the Supreme Court of India against the then Chief Minister of the Government of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, concerning Modi’s alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots. From December 1999 to September 2002, he worked as Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence in the state Intelligence Bureau (India) at Gandhinagar. He was responsible for looking after the state’s internal security, border and coastal security, and security of vital installations. He was also responsible for then CM Modi’s security. During this period, the Godhra train burning and the subsequent Hindu-Muslim riots led to over a thousand deaths in February-March 2002.
In 2003, Bhatt was posted as the superintendent of Sabarmati central jail. There, he became very popular among the prisoners. He introduced desserts like Gajar ka halwa on the jail menu. He also posted undertrials in the Godhra train burning case on a jail committee. Two months after his appointment, he was transferred for being too friendly with the prisoners and bestowing favours upon them. On 18 November 2003, nearly half of the 4000 prisoners went on a hunger strike to protest his transfer. Six convicts slashed their wrists in protest. By 2007, Bhatt’s colleagues from the 1988 batch had been promoted to the rank of Inspector-general of police (IGP). However, Bhatt had stayed at the SP level for a decade without any promotion, because of the pending criminal cases and departmental inquiries against him.
After the 2002 riots, a group of social activists had formed the Concerned Citizens Tribunal to analyze the riots. Then Gujarat’s home minister Haren Pandya told this tribunal that Modi had organised a meeting, after the Godhra train burning, in which over 63 Hindu pilgrims died. According to Pandya, in this meeting, Modi had asked the police officials not to come in the way of “the Hindu backlash”. Pandya had named several police officials who attended this meeting; Bhatt was not among these. Pandya was later assassinated by unidentified men.
On 14 April 2011, 9 years after the riots, Bhatt filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court of India, making similar allegations. According to Bhatt, at this meeting on 27 February 2002, Modi asked top police officials to let Hindus “vent out their anger” against the Muslims. According to him, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Hindu nationalist Bajarang Dal were stirring tensions in the city, and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had proposed a bandh. Subsequently, riots occurred in which around 1000 people died three-quarters of who was Muslim. Described as a whistleblower both by some of the Indian media and some pressure groups, Bhatt has since referred to the events as “state-sponsored riots” and has alleged both that Modi told his officials to be “indifferent” towards rioters and said that Muslims needed to be “taught a lesson”.
In March 2008, the Supreme Court had appointed a Special Investigation Team (SIT), headed by former Central Bureau of Investigation chief R. K. Raghavan, to investigate cases relating to the various incidents that had occurred during the 2002 riots. One of those who died in the Gulbarg Society massacre that formed a part of the riots was Ehsan Jaffri, the former Indian National Congress Member of Parliament. His widow, Zakia Jaffri, subsequently became concerned about the involvement of senior officials in allegedly aiding and abetting the rioters and by the lack of legal action against them by the police. She petitioned the Court, alleging criminal conspiracy, a “deliberate and intentional failure” to protect life and property, and failure to fulfill their constitutional duty. In 2009, the Court responded by directing the SIT to investigate the actions of Modi and 62 other people, including Pandey and some VHP leaders. In June 2011, Bhatt filed Public-interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court, calling for an independent agency to investigate the riots or, alternatively, for the case to be transferred outside Gujarat. On 13 October 2015, a bench comprising Supreme Court Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice Arun Mishra ruled Bhatt’s allegations against the SIT as totally “false and baseless”. It further rebuked Bhatt, ruling “He had exchanged e-mails with rival political party leaders and was being tutored by the lawyer of an NGO and its activist. In November 2012, Bhatt and six other policemen were charged with murder in the 1990 custodial death case of Prabhudas Vaishnani. On 20 June 2019, he was sentenced to life in relation to this case. He is in jail and his followers and some friend media members, making noise-seeking justice for him.