Arrest Of Sanjeev Bhatt: A Direct Intimidation
By Teesta Setalvad
30 September, 2011
The Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) strongly condemns the vindictive action of the Gujarat government in arresting Sanjeev Bhatt, senior IPS officer in an action that is nothing short of an attempt to intimidate an important witness in the Zakia Ahsan Jafri and CJP criminal complaint against chief minister Narendra Modi and 61 others. This action of the Gujarat police under the direct intructions of the state’s Home Minister—Narendra Modi amounts to tampering with evidence and direct intimidation of a key witness. It is also a cheap attempt to slur his character and standing.
Key issues need to be raised here. One that through his affidavit before the Hon’ble Supreme Court dated April 2011 he had testified to criminal and un-Constitutional instructions being issued by Modi at a late night meeting of 27.2.2002 the day of the Godhra incident. In his statements before the SC-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) he also gave documentary data about Modi’s abdication of responsibility on 28.2.2002 the day attacks on Gulberg Society and Naroda Patia in Ahmedabad were in full swing. Finally, and last but not the least in an affidavit filed before the High Court recently Shri Bhatt had even mentioned that both Modi and Amit Shah, then MOS Home had tried to intimidate and pressurise him into not giving facts and evidence in the possession of the State Intelligence Bureau related to the assassination of former MOS Revenue Shri Haren Pandya. The CBI investigation into the Pandya assassination has been recently severely criticised by the Gujarat High Court.
Most critically, Bhatt had challenged this FIR for which he was arrested through Writ Petition 135/2011 in the Supreme Court. The SC had issued notice to the Gujarat government on 29.7.2011. This hasty and vindictive, even desperate action of the Gujarat police directly while the matter is under consideration of the Supreme Court raises serious issues of contempt of the highest court, due process and most importantly intimidating a witness critical to a trial to ensure public justice. The alleged offences for which Bhatt was arresred are sections 183,189, 193, 195, 341 of the IPC. With our matter now awaiting being charge sheeting before a Gujarat Magistrate’s Court the arrest of Bhatt is also a clear attempt by the state of Gujarat to warn us all collectively and individually of repercussions if we struggle for justice. It is a pathetic subversion of the Constitution and the Rule of Law
Citizens for Justice and Peace
Other Trustees: IM Kadri, Alyqye Padamsee, Nandan Maluste, Cyrus Giuzder, Javed Anand, Arvind Krishnaswamy, Javed Akhtar, Rahul Bose, Cedric Prakash, Ghulam Pesh Imam
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