Ahmedabad: Suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who had taken on then Chief Minister Narendra Modi over the 2002 Gujarat riots, was today sacked on the ground of "unauthorised absence" from service, an action which he said followed a "sham inquiry" on "completely fabricated charges".
"Yes, it is true that my services have been terminated. This was expected. They have been conducting a completely ex-parte inquiry. I got the letter (sack order) from them (the Home ministry)," Bhatt told PTI this evening.
Gujarat Chief Secretary G R Aloria confirmed the development. "Services of Sanjiv Bhatt have been terminated," he said. Bhatt has been under suspension since 2011 after he took on the then Modi government over the 2002 Gujarat riots on charges of remaining absent from duty without permission and misuse of official vehicles. At the time, he was posted in Junagadh.
IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt (File pic)
A 1988-batch IPS officer, Bhatt had filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court, claiming that he had attended a meeting at Modi's residence in Gandhinagar on February 27, 2002, during which the Chief Minister had instructed the top police officers to allow the Hindus "to vent out their anger" after the train-burning incident at Godhra earlier that month.
However, his claim was rejected by the apex-court appointed Special Investigation Team, which probe nine major incidents related to the post-Godhra riots. Bhatt said he was sacked on the basis of "a sham inquiry" with regard to his "unauthorised absence" from service when he had come to Ahmedabad to depose before the SIT probing the 2002 riots.
"In fact, I have enjoyed every moment of the last 27 years in the IPS. The Government of the day has decided to remove me from service after conduction a sham, ex-parte inquiry on completely fabricated charges of 'unauthorised absence from duty'," he said in a Facebook post.
Bhat said the ground of his sacking - unauthorised absence from duty'- pertains to the period when he was deposing before the SIT (investigating into the Zakia Jafri complaint) and the Nanavati Commission (inquiring into the Gujarat riots).
"Be that as it may, the bottom-line is that if the Government of the day does not require my services...so be it. I pray to God that he may continue to kindle and stoke the passion and fire that has possessed me all these years. May He continue to lead me in my just pursuits", he said.
When asked if he will challenge his sacking, Bhatt said he did not want to impose himself on the government. "A lot can be done (against the move) but whether it is worth challenging....Government does not want me, why I should be so keen that I want to remain in this," Bhatt said. "I had joined the police with a passion, now it seems the country and this government does not need me.
So whatever has happened is good. I cannot impose myself on the government." The IPS officer faced fresh trouble recently when the Gujarat government issued a show-cause notice to him over a video purportedly showing him with a woman. It sought his explanation for allegedly having extra-marital relationship; Bhatt denied that the man in the video was him. In his reply, Bhatt had contended that a closer examination of the video clipping brought out "striking differences" in facial features, including the shape and size of the nose, forehead and ears.