The BJP on Tuesday described Home Minister P Chidambaram’s praise for Gujarat IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt as “inappropriate”.
The minister had commended the courage of the IPS officer for filing an affidavit in the SC against Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots case.
The BJP’s criticism came in the wake of reports from Jaipur that Bhatt and former judge R R Jain, for whom Chidambaram was the counsel, jointly conspired in implicating a lawyer in a narcotics case in 1996. “If this is true then it is inappropriate for the Home Minister to welcome Bhatt’s affidavit filed directly in SC,” BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters here.
A former Pali MP and a member of the bar association, who is with the BJP, Pushp Kumar Jain, has alleged that Bhatt was a key conspirator in several criminal cases. The BJP has refrained from commenting on the affidavit saying the matter was sub judice.
“The matter is sub judice. Does it not mean the minister is interfering with the judiciary’s functioning,” Sitharaman said. She also said the Gujarat Government had to pay Rs one lakh for Bhatt’s “wrongdoing”. Bhatt was chargesheeted by the Rajasthan police’s crime branch before a trial court at Jodhpur in 2000.
The IPS officer’s appeal against the charges was pending before the Supreme Court, while the National Human Rights Commission found him guilty and ordered a compensation of Rs 1 lakh for the victim lawyer, Sumer Singh Rajpurohit. The compensation was paid to Pali-based Rajpurohit by the Gujarat government on January 25 this year.
Jain, who spoke on behalf of the Pali Bar Association, said R R Jain was demoted by the Gujarat High Court and later suspended.
“Chidambaram is well aware of this case, as he was counsel for the suspended judge Jain in the Supreme Court. The Union Home Minister should step down for praising a criminal conspirator who facing several charges even Gujarat,” Pushp Kumar Jain alleged. The home minister said in Kolkata that after the “courage” shown by the IPS officer in speaking out against Modi, more people were ready to stand up and tell the truth. Economic Times