Controversial former IPS officer J K Bhatt, who retired two days ago, was appointed as a member of the state Human Rights Commission on Saturday.
Announcing the decision, Minister of State for Home Pradipsinh Jadeja said that a committee headed by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani chose Bhatt and the appointment has been approved by Governor O P Kohli.
Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Paresh Dhanani, who is also a member of the selection committee, could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
Bhatt’s appointment comes days after the BJP government appointed P R Patel, who as a judge adjudicated the 2002 Godhra train burning case and awarded death penalty to 11 convicts in March 2011, as Special Officer (Litigation) on the day he retired as Registrar General of the Gujarat High Court.
Bhatt was the supervisory officer of the Godhra train burning case before it was handed over to the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team.
He retired as special commissioner of Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch two days ago. In his 26 years of career, Bhatt was embroiled in several controversies. The latest was an allegation of extortion against him.
Last year, a letter purportedly written by an absconding accused involved in a fraud case, was leaked to the media. The accused, Vinay Shah, alleged that Bhatt had received money. The letter also named two journalists.
Bhatt and the two journalists denied the allegations and filed defamation cases against Shah. The next hearing in Bhatt’s case is scheduled on February 7.
Earlier, a woman had also accused Bhatt of pressuring her to change her complaint of alleged gangrape. The allegation had led Bhatt to distance himself from the case as a supervisory officer. The woman later withdrew her complaint.