No threat to Sanjiv Bhatt in Sohrab case: Gujarat govt

No threat to Sanjiv Bhatt in Sohrab case: Gujarat govt

In a response to a petition moved by jailed ex-IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife Shweta Bhatt seeking round-the-clock police protection claiming threat to her family for various reasons including her husband being a witness in 2002 post-Godhra riots and 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter cases, the Gujarat government said that "there is no threat" to the family as "creditworthiness" of ex-officer as a witness has already been adjudicated by Supreme Court. 

It says that "...Sohrabuddin encounter trial is also over and it is the satisfaction of state government that even on this score there is no threat either to the petitioner's husband or any of his family members." 

The reply, filed earlier this month, denies Bhatt as a "crucial witness" in 2002 post-Godhra riots and Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter cases. The ten-page reply, filed by Prem Vir Singh, additional commissioner of police, special branch, Ahmedabad, alleges that the petitioner Shweta has not disclosed that the claims of her husband of being a witness in these two cases have been rejected by the Supreme Court in a detailed judgement passed in 2016.

Bhatt's police protection was withdrawn in July 2018 along with 63 others following a "review" by a committee. The reply claims that "the decision was taken on merits, after undertaking the exercise of reviewing threat perception with respect to a large number of persons. No exception, therefore, can be found in case of the petitioner's husband or his family."

The reply states that Bhatt has been "periodically praying" for security cover and leaking such requests in the media to gain "momentary publicity", and slots the petition in the same category.

The state government has also said that "threat perception and constant police protection cannot be a subject matter of judicial review as it is not a permanent phenomenon."

Shweta Bhatt had sought protection alleging that she is "being followed by unknown and plainclothes police personnel." She mentioned an incident in which she and her son met with an accident after a truck rammed into their car in the city.

In response, additional commissioner Singh stated in his reply that these are not "grounds" based on which anyone can seek protection. He said that the petitioner has not filed any complaint against the alleged incidents.

Meanwhile, the Gujarat High Court on Tuesday refused to grant two weeks to the state government for producing certain documents in the court before hearing the bail plea of Sanjiv Bhatt who is serving life imprisonment in a jail in Jamnagar custodial death. It gave time till next Monday.

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