//Gujarat: Intimidation of cops who choose to speak up

Gujarat: Intimidation of cops who choose to speak up

Cops on receiving end for not toeing line
Aug 16 2011

AHMEDABAD: The state government is reopening old cases involving IPS officers who dared to act against the establishment either in 2002 riots cases or fake encounters. Sanjiv Bhatt is the latest in the list to face action. On May 21, trial began in a Khambhaliya court in Jamnagar in a 1990 case of police atrocity which lead to the death of one person. Bhatt had recently told the Supreme Court how chief minister Narendra Modi told top officials to allow the Hindus to vent their anger during the 2002 riots.

The murder case was revived after 15 years against Bhatt and other policemen and a special prosecutor was also appointed. This case was revived in 1996 also, but the government then had not given permission to prosecute Bhatt. Besides, Bhatt’s cross examination before the Nanavati-Mehta commission on his career controversies was no less than intimidation on part of the government that the cop could face prosecution on complaints pending at Pardi and Palanpur. Another IPS officer, Rahul Sharma, also faced the consequences for his diligence shown while probeing riots cases. He came out with CDs containing telephone records of the riot period.

Sharma was chargesheeted for misplacing this ‘vital evidence’, but this happened only after the duplicate CD and its data began to be accepted by criminal courts as evidence against some of the political personalities. Similarly, Satish Verma is facing suspension from service as the state government has expressed zeal to take ‘departmental action’ against him for a case buried long ago. The government set up an inquiry on its own, though apparently on a PIL filed by former BJP MLA Yatin Oza, demanding action against cops for their alleged inaction in the Gossabara RDX landing investigation. But all this happened after Verma came up with the finding that the Isharat Jahan encounter was fake. Earlier, Verma had got clean chit in a couple of inquiries, and adverse report against him was not entertained by higher ups in the past.

f Verma alleges victimisation for his aggression in probe, DIG Rajnish Rai has accused his seniors like PC Pande and OP Mathur of downgrading his ACR and damaging his career for his action of arresting Vanzara & Co. in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case. In his petition before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Rai has explained how Pande tried to change the action taken report for submission before the Supreme Court with a view to shielding the accused cops. The first whistleblower against the government, R B Sreekumar, complained before CAT of being ‘sidelined for not toeing the government’s line’.

After a couple of years’ legal battle, he got his due promotion as director general, albeit after retirement. Kuldip Sharma’s career grades in his annual confidential reports were downgraded by none other than Modi, and he was shunted to a post that is usually held by a junior IAS officer in the Gujarat State Sheep & Wool Development Corporation Ltd. He got respite from CAT and escaped to deputation at New Delhi. Before this, the high court rescued him from a 1986 case of encounter in Kutch. Like other cops, this senior cop too claimed that he was targeted because he had not followed instructions to frame Mallika Sarabhai for filing a petition in the SC during the 2002 riots. He also claimed that he was victimised for also sending the inquiry report as it was in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case.

TNN | Jun 1, 2011, 04.46AM IST

The Times of India