Acting on an application moved last week by Shweta Bhatt, wife of former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, seeking an early listing of her main petition seeking armed security for her family from the state at its expense, the Gujarat High Court ordered that the main petition be listed on August 19.
On July 12, Shweta Bhatt submitted that her main petition was heard last on May 8, at which time the state government had sought time. Thereafter the matter was listed for May 10 but due to paucity of time, the matter was not heard.
Justice S H Vora directed the registry to list her main petition for hearing on August 19 and disposed of her application. Shweta’s main petition states, “The threat perception against Mr Bhatt and particularly against his family members has intensified and there have occurred instances after the arrest of Mr Bhatt that have prompted the wife of Mr Bhatt to approach the High Court for providing armed security at the cost of the State.”
The petition goes on to list up to eight instances that have “raised concerns about security of the petitioner”. These included the presence of “unknown persons frequently seen around the home of the petitioner” and a car accident that Shweta Bhatt and her son were involved in, which this paper had reported about on January 11.
Shweta, who had contested the 2012 Assembly polls against then Chief Minister Narendra Modi, also states in her petition that her contesting elections had “enraged many and since then the petitioner also is facing issues of her security.”
The petitioner has also submitted that if she and her family is not granted appropriate and adequate action, “there is a serious threat continuously looming upon the present petitioner and no one should be allowed to be subjected to such fear and insecurity, especially when the husband of the petitioner has been a key witness in the investigation and the trial of the accused persons in the 2002 Gujarat riots.”
The High Court in May had directed the state government to bring on record of the court when the state withdrew security cover for Sanjiv Bhatt and his family.
Sanjiv Bhatt earlier moved an application in the apex court with similar prayers seeking security cover. This was prompted, as mentioned in the petition, by the sudden withdrawal of security cover on July 2018. Thereafter Sanjiv was arrested on September 5 in connection with a 21-year old case on allegations of having planted drugs to arrest a person. Meanwhile, a district and sessions court in Jamnagar on June 20 pronounced its judgment in a 29-year old case of custodial death, sentencing former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who was then the ASP in the district, to life imprisonment.