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Sanjiv Bhatt in judicial custody, wife fears for his life

Last updated on: October 01, 2011 21:58 IST

Senior IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who had accused Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi of complicity in the 2002 post-Godhra riots, was on Saturday sent to judicial custody after a court rejected the plea for police remand.

The police had asked for seven days' custody of Bhatt, who was arrested on Friday, in connection with a complaint filed by constable K D Pant.

Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate B G Doshi rejected the plea and sent Bhatt to judicial custody for 15 days.

Earlier in the day, Bhatt's wife Shweta said that she feared for her husband's life, as he had been handed over to the city crime branch.

But Police Commissioner Sudhir Sinha said that her apprehension was "unfounded".

The police also went to search Bhatt's house on Saturday, for the second time, but had to return when Shweta demanded to see a fresh search warrant. She also alleged that the police were harassing them for speaking the truth.

Bhatt was arrested in connection with the FIR filed by Pant for allegedly threatening him and making him sign a false affidavit about a meeting called by Modi on February 27, 2002, hours after the Godhra train carnage.

Bhatt has been charged under IPC sections 341 (causing wrongful restraint), 342 (causing wrongful confinement), 195 (giving fabricated evidence) and 189 (threat of injury to public servant).

Bhatt's lawyer advocate I H Sayed told the court that while Bhatt's application regarding Pant's complaint was pending before the Supreme Court, the Gujarat police had arrested him only to harass him.

Bhatt has moved the Supreme Court, demanding that there be an independent investigation of Pant's FIR.

The government was acting vindictively as Bhatt had filed an affidavit in the apex court against Narendra Modi, advocate Sayed said.

According to the affidavit, in February 2002, Modi had said at a meeting that Hindus should be allowed to vent their anger in the wake of the Godhra train burning incident.

Public Prosecutor Pravin Trivedi argued that though Bhatt's application was pending before the Supreme Court, the apex court had not stayed the investigation, or directed the police not to arrest anybody in the case.

According to Pant's FIR, on June 16, Pant got a call from Bhatt, who asked him to come to his house for some work.

When Pant reached there, the IPS officer told him that the amicus curie of the Supreme Court was coming on June 18 and they had to meet him to record a statement.

Pant alleges that Bhatt asked him to tell the amicus curie that the Special Investigation Team had forcibly recorded his statement. When he resisted, Bhatt allegedly threatened him.

The constable further claimed in the FIR that Bhatt took him to meet state Congress president Arjun Modhwadia, who too assured him that there was no need to worry and he should do Bhatt's bidding.

After meeting Modhwadia, Bhatt took Pant to the office of a lawyer and a notary and made him sign two sets of affidavits, the FIR claims.

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