The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team, which is probing the 2002 Gujarat riots, on Wednesday claimed suspended Indian Police Service officer Sanjiv Bhatt was not a "witness" in the complaint against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, but a "manipulator".
"Sanjiv Bhatt was never a witness to any meeting held by the chief minister, but he is fabricating everything... (he) is manipulating and has conspired to play the media card in building pressure groups to influence not only amicus curae (in Zakia Jafri's petition) Raju Ramchandran, but even the Supreme Court," SIT lawyer R S Jamuar said.
Jamuar was arguing before Metropolitan Magistrate B J Ganatra, who is hearing a protest petition by Jafri challenging the closure report of SIT giving clean chit to Modi and others with respect to the riots.
Jamuar submitted evidence to back up the SIT's contention in the closure report that Bhatt was not a reliable witness.
Coming down heavily on Bhatt, Jamuar cited contents of some of the emails collected by the state government during the investigation of a criminal complaint against Bhatt.
These emails included the ones allegedly sent by Bhatt to Nasir Chhipa, journalist Subhranshu, activist Teesta Setalvad, the then leader of opposition in Gujarat assembly and Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil and IPS officer Rahul Sharma (who had collected details of phone calls made during the 2002 riots).
"Sanjiv Bhatt, on whom complainant (Jafri) has placed much reliance and who had started making controversial claims after a gap of nine years after the riots, has tried to manipulate even the media and conspired to build pressure on even the Supreme Court judges who were hearing the plea filed by Zakia Jafri," the SIT lawyer said.