The lawyer of suspended IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt on Friday said that the arrest of his client earlier in the day was an attempt to intimidate a witness who had deposed against the Narendera Modi government.
"This is vindictive action of the Gujarat government because Bhatt has made startling revelations about the Chief Minister's meeting of February 27, 2002 in the affidavit filed in the Supreme Court," Bhatt's lawyer, advocate I H Syed, said.
"This is an attempt to intimidate my client, who has deposed against government's action during the post-Godhra riots before the Nanavati Commission and the SC-appointed special investigation team (SIT)," he said.
Syed said he was going to apply for bail. "We have bail application ready which will be placed before the magistrate when Bhatt is produced."
Syed said Bhatt has been charged under IPC sections 341 (causing wrongful restraint), 342 (causing wrongful confinement), 195 (giving fabricated evidence) and 189 (threat of injury to public servant).
Bhatt was arrested in connection with the FIR filed against him by police constable K D Pant for allegedly threatening him and making him sign a false affidavit about the meeting called by Chief Minister Modi on February 27, 2002.
Syed said Bhatt's arrest was a planned move by the government, as it came a day before the 10-day vacation of the Supreme Court, where Bhatt's petition seeking CBI inquiry into this case was pending.
"This was done so that he could not get relief from the Apex Court. The government has not even answered the notice of the Supreme Court in this case," he said.
The arrest also comes within a few days of Bhatt filing an affidavit in the Gujarat High Court, alleging that Chief Minister Narendra Modi and former minister of state, Home, Amit Shah had tried to pressurise him to destroy crucial evidence related to the 2003 Haren Pandya murder case.
Syed said that Tarachand Yadav, one of the two key witnesses to the fact that Bhatt had attended the meeting called by Modi of February 27, 2002 -- after Godhra train burning incident -- had not changed his statement.
"Tarachand (driver) and Pant, both had accompanied Bhatt to the meeting. They both sat outside while Bhatt attended the meeting," he said.
"Tarachand has not changed his stand, but Pant has been cleverly picked up by the government and made to change his statement and file FIR against Bhatt," Syed claimed.