In a setback to the Gujarat government, a special court granted bail to suspended police officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who has accused Chief Minister Narendra Modi of complicity in the 2002 communal riots. Coming out of jail, the officer said rule of law has prevailed.
Sessions Judge V.K. Vyas granted bail on the condition that Bhatt would cooperate with the investigation and would be present when called.
“At 11 a.m. today (Monday), the court pronounced the judgment and granted Sanjiv Bhatt bail,” Bhatt’s counsel I.H. Sayed told reporters in Ahmedabad.
The Indian Police Service (IPS) officer was arrested Sep 30 for allegedly forcing a police constable, K.D. Panth, to sign a false affidavit about his attending a meeting called by Modi soon after the Godhra train burning that sparked the riots.
Rose petals were showered on him and his supporters shouted slogans in his favour as he left the Sabarmati jail in Ahmedabad.
“I am happy that the rule of law has prevailed and this would be a victory for hope,” a composed Bhatt told reporters outside the jail.
Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid said the court order showed the independence of the legal system.
“No matter how much people speculate and put question marks, ultimately… we have shown our system is independent and it does not get swayed either by public opinion or by any kind of pressure,” Khurshid told reporters in New Delhi.
The officer’s wife Shweta Bhatt told reporters in Ahmedabad that she was relieved at the development. “I am am feeling really good and after 18 days I met him. My faith in judiciary has further strengthened after this.”