The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to theGujarat government on IPS officerSanjiv Bhatt plea to transfer the case against him out of the state.
Bhatt had accused Chief Minister Narendra Modi of allowing massacre of Muslims during the post-Godhra communal riots of 2002. The court also stayed criminal proceedings initiated against social activist Teesta Setalvad for her alleged role in a case relating to exhuming bodies of riot victims in 2006.
A bench comprising Justice Aftab Alam and Justice RM Lodha sought the response of the Centre on Bhatt’s allegation that the trail against him in the case will not be fair in Gujarat. It posted the matter for further hearing on August 8.
A first investigation report was lodged by a police constable in Ahmedabad, alleging that Bhatt had pressured him to sign an affidavit testifying that he participated in a high-level meeting on February 27, 2002, convened by Modi in the aftermath of the Godhra train burning. The complainant constable, KD Pant, accused Bhatt of threatening and coercing him to sign his false affidavit regarding the officer’s participation in the meeting.
Bhatt in his affidavit to the Supreme Court accused Modi of asking officers to allow a free run for violent mobs, during the February 27 meeting and said this led to neutralizing the police which led to mass killing of Muslims in the state. He alleged that Modi had instructed senior government officials to allow Hindus to “vent their anger” during the course of the riots and wanted Muslims to be “taught a lesson”.
The apex court declined to take Bhatt’s affidavit on record. The bench also issued notice to the state government on a separate petition of Setalvad, seeking quashing of criminal proceedings against her in a case relating to exhuming bodies of riot victims at Pandarwada and surrounding areas in 2006.
She had approached the SC against the order of the High Court which refused to quash the FIR registered against her in the case. The FIR against her was on a complaint filed by one of her aides, Rais Khan, accusing her of exhuming bodies of the riot victims from Pandarwada and surrounding villages in Khanpur taluka from a graveyard near River Panam. Economic Times