The home ministry instructions to Gujarat came hours after an Ahmedabad court reserved, for Oct 7, its orders on the state’s revision petition against the judicial remand of the officer after Bhatt refused the court’s suggestion of granting bail if he underwent a three-hour police remand.
Bhatt had recently levelled allegations against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in connection with the 2002 riots post the burning of Karsewaks travelling by the Sabarmati Express in Godhra.
The home ministry wrote to the Gujarat government, asking it to provide security to Bhatt and his family after the police officer’s wife Shweta Bhatt wrote to Home Minister P. Chidambaram expressing fears that there was danger to the arrested officer’s life.
Home Secretary R.K. Singh had convened a meeting of senior officials after Shweta Bhatt’s letter was received by the central government.
“The home ministry has written to the Gujarat government to ensure adequate security to Bhatt and his family as per local threat perception,” a home ministry official said here.
“We are also independently carrying out threat assessment at our level,” the official added.
Bhatt was arrested Friday after Gujarat police constable K.D. Panth lodged a complaint that he was threatened by the officer and forced to sign a false affidavit on the meeting called by Modi on Feb 27, 2002, hours after the Godhra train carnage.
Shweta Bhatt had written in her letter to Chidambaram that her husband “has been victimised and arrested” merely because a few politicians apprehended serious action against them due to Sanjeev Bhatt’s evidence in the pending criminal cases against them.
An Ahmedabad sessions court, meanwhile, reserved its order for Oct 7 on Gujarat government’s plea to place him under police custody for investigation in the case registered on the basis of Panth’s complaint.
The state government had Monday challenged a magisterial court order denying police remand of Bhatt.
Sessions Judge G.N. Patel reserved the order after hearing both the parties.
During the hearing, Bhatt’s lawyer I.H. Sayed contended that the revision remand application of the state government was not maintainable in law, citing a Supreme Court judgement, which had said granting or rejecting of bail was an interlocutory order and there cannot be revision of that order.
For the government, public prosecutor Pravin Trivedi argued that the state government had the right to seek revision of remand if rejected.
Bhatt, who was present in the court, told the judge that he would like to assist it and remain present during pronouncement of the order. But he was told that his presence was not required.
The court also proposed to Bhatt that it would readily grant him bail if he went into police remand for three hours and returned.
However, Bhatt refused to take the offer, saying he cannot compromise with “touts”.
In his bail application, Bhatt had claimed he was falsely implicated with an ulterior motive at the behest of some political functionaries and senior police officers, and that Pant appeared to be acting according to “diktats” from political masters.