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Ex-IPS Officer Sanjiv Bhatt Arrested From Jail in 2002 Gujarat Riots Case

He was arrested through a transfer warrant for allegedly embezzling funds and forging documents in the riots case.

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Gujarat Police on Tuesday, 12 July, arrested former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt from Banaskantha jail through a transfer warrant for allegedly embezzling funds and forging documents in the Gujarat riots case.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT), formed under the Detection of Crime Branch Ahmedabad, also sought 14-day custody of Bhatt.

"The court has granted remand till 20 July, 5 am," Amit Patel, the public prosecutor, told ANI.

A First Information Report (FIR) was filed against activist-journalist Teesta Setalvad, former Gujarat state Director General of Police RB Sreekumar, and Bhatt on 25 June this year.

The trio have been accused of allegedly abusing the process of law by conspiring to fabricate evidence to frame "innocent" people in connection with the Gujarat riots.

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Background

Sanjiv Bhatt was the deputy commissioner incharge of Internal Security at the State Intelligence Bureau when riots broke out in Gujarat in 2002 and was one of the first officers to report that the Godhra train burning incident could trigger retaliatory violence.

Bhatt claimed that PM Narendra Modi, the then chief minister of Gujarat, had told senior police officials at his Gandhinagar residence on the night of 27 February 2002, that people should be allowed to "vent their anger against Muslims" for 72 hours to avenge the Godhra incident.

The former officer also filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court, alleging that the SIT was attempting to protect Modi and the other powers that be.

However, his allegations were refuted and the accused were given a clean chit.

Bhatt was dismissed from the police service in 2015 and put on trial for charges the Gujarat government had filed against him. In its judgment, the court observed that Bhatt "hatched a political conspiracy, was tutored by certain NGOs, and was involved in politics of creating pressure."

He was also found guilty of the 1990 death and torture of Prabhudas Vaishnavi, one of the numerous men he had imprisoned while attempting to quell a riot in the Jamnagar area and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

(With inputs from ANI.)

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