Contrary to popular perception, the suspended Gujarat IPS officer, Sanjiv Bhatt had first earned the ire of Narendra Modi government eight years ago following his refusal to withdraw his report on the Haren Pandya murder case, much before his sensational disclosure earlier this year on Modi's role in the 2002 riots.
Bhatt, in his affidavit filed in the Gujarat high court on September 27, which also appears to be the immediate provocation for his arrest on Friday, has disclosed that he was shifted from his position of superintendent of Sabarmati Central Prison, Ahmedabad, shortly after he refused to destroy documentary evidence on Pandya murder case in 2003.
"The said documentary evidence was immediately forwarded under a report to the State Home Department, Government for further appropriate action as required by law. On the very same afternoon, I received a phone call from the then MoS for Home, Amit Shah, expressing severe displeasure about my report," Bhatt wrote.
The whistleblower IPS officer, a graduate from IIT Mumbai and now in the same jail of which he was the in charge in 2003, has further revealed that Shah asked him that the "unsavoury documentary to should be immediately destroyed and obliterated."
The refusal by Bhatt to obey the repeated verbal orders led to his transfer by the Chief Minister from the post of Superintendent of Police in-charge of Sabarmati Central Prison, in November 2003 itself, "within a period of under two and a half months and was kept without any posting."
Months later, this was followed by the state government withdrawing its eight year-old application from a sessions court in Jamnagar district, in 2004. The state had filed the application in 1996, challenging a magisterial court's order for criminal proceedings against Bhatt and six other policemen in an alleged custodial death of 1990.
"As part of their ongoing coercive tactics and measures, the Legal Department of the State, at the instance of the Home Department headed by the chief minister Shri Narendra Modi, wrote a letter to the Public Prosecutor at Jamnagar in September 2004, directing him to withdraw the Criminal Revision Application of 1996," Bhatt's affidavit states.
Bhatt escalated the confrontation with a sensational affidavit in the Supreme Court in April 2011, in which he pointed out at Modi's complicity in the 2002 riots.