| Security Removal Act of Intimidation: IPS Sanjeev Bhatt.

Describing the withdrawal of his and his family’s security cover by the state government as intimidation, IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt today said it was a “desperate measure by desperate men who are afraid of the truth” coming out with regard to the 2002 post-Godhra riots.

However, state DGP Chitranjan Singh’s office said there was no security threat to Bhatt, but following his demand with the SIT for security, an armed constable will remain with him round the clock.

The DGP office here had yesterday issued orders to all the five security men and a driver deployed with Bhatt to report to their headquarters in Junagadh immediately or else their stay outside the headquarters would be termed illegal.

Bhatt claimed that this was the second such order asking for withdrawal of security for him and his family despite him being recommended Y-category security by the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB).

Earlier this month, ADGP (training) had ordered that the five men and vehicle deployed with Bhatt be sent back to Junagadh. Bhatt is at present on leave.

“These are intimidatory tactics that would undermine and jeopardise my safety and security of my family,” Bhatt told mediapersons today.

“Someone (in the government) is afraid of the truth (about 2002 riots) coming out. This (withdrawal of security) was a desperate measure by desperate men,” he said.

Bhatt, in his affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, had alleged that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi instructed officers during a late night meeting held on February 27, 2002, to allow Hindus “to vent out their anger” during the clashes as he wanted Muslims to be “taught a lesson”.

Bhatt, who is posted as principal, State Reserve Police Training Center (SRPTC), Junagadh, said government had earlier asked him to relieve the men deployed with him.

“Since I resisted their orders and requested for security for me and my family, they have now issued orders directly to the constables to report to their headquarter or else action could be taken against them,” he said, adding the five armed constables and a driver, along with the official vehicle, would be sent back to Junagadh today itself.

Bhatt, in a strongly worded letter to DGP today, said, “despite repeated written requests for providing adequate and fool-proof security to me and my family, you have continued to take proactive steps to jeopardise my security and safety of my family by repeatedly ordering withdrawal of security.”

Meanwhile, the DGP office issued an official statement on why security was not required for Bhatt.

“On assessing the threat to Bhatt it was found that he did not receive any threat call or intimidation from anybody. Therefore, there was no recommendation of security cover for him,” the statement said.

It further clarified, that security to a police officer at his residence is provided only at the place of his posting.

“But, Bhatt, without permission of his superior officer, had taken the police security officials to his Ahmedabad residence,” the statement said.

However, based on Bhatt’s letter to the Special Investigation Team (SIT), probing some riot cases, demanding security, the home department has issued orders to deploy an armed constable with Bhatt round the clock, it added.

The statement by DGP office further said that Bhatt was asked not to go on leave while his application for half-pay leave for 54 days was under consideration.

“But Bhatt, disregarding the orders went on sick leave,” the statement said.

In his affidavit filed on April 14 in the Apex Court, Bhatt also accused the Supreme Court appointed SIT of coercing witnesses, hostility, cover-up of probe, and showing reluctance in recording important information with regard to the post-Godhra riots.

Bhatt, who was questioned by SIT on March 21, 22, 23, said after facing ‘unconcealed hostility’ by SIT members he was under apprehension that the agency was part of the cover-up operation with regard to the probe in riot cases.

Post his affidavit in the Apex Court, Bhatt has been summoned by the Nanavati Commission, probing the 2002 riot cases, on May 16.

Filed On: Apr 29, 2011 23:00 IST