New Delhi: Dismissed Gujarat Cadre IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt on Thursday told the Supreme Court that he was victimised and targeted by the state government, whose strategy was to shoot the messenger for his bold speaking about the handling of law and order situation during the riots of 2002.
"It is a clear case of victimisation. I am being victimised for being bold enough to say I was present in the meeting of February 27, 2002 and heard some words uttered by the then Chief Minister," his counsel and senior advocate Indira Jaising submitted before a bench of Chief Justice H L Dattu and Arun Mishra.
However, she said it is also a fact that his claim of being present in the meeting was denied by the then Police Commissioner of Ahmedabad, the DIG and one of the Bhatt's subordinates, who allegedly had accompanied him in his vehicle to the Chief Minister's office and later accused him of coercing him to sign a false affidavit.
The senior advocate said only Bhatt's driver had stood by his statement that they had gone for the meeting.
She said the Gujarat government was critical of Bhatt raising the claim of his presence in the meeting as late as 2011.
Further, she said that other officers testified while he was deliberately not summoned by the Justice G T Nanavati Commission set by the state government to probe riots cases.
However, the use of word "deliberate" evoked sharp reaction from the bench, which said the Justice Nanavati was a judge of the apex court and it was for him to think whom to summon before the commission.
Jaising corrected herself and said "in his wisdom he did not summon him (Bhatt)". The bench commented "this is the correct expression."
The submission on behalf of Bhatt will continue next week and after that Gujarat Government will get the opportunity to refute the allegations including that there have been a "pattern" since 2002 to deal with the cases of riots by the state machinery.
"The strategy is to shoot the messenger so that he should not carry the informations and the problem will be over," Jaising said while elaborating the manner in which the cases of riots and some encounter killings since 2002 were dealt with by the apex court and some of them shifted to neighbouring Maharashtra for fair and impartial criminal trials.