IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who had taken on the Gujarat government over its handling of the 2002 riots, has been dismissed from service for “flagrantly” flouting rules “with complete disregard to discipline”.
The Union Home Ministry order, dated August 13, followed a recommendation from the Gujarat government for Bhatt’s removal on 11 charges. These included: “staying absent from duty unauthorizedly, defying orders of superior officer (DG & IGP), taking custody of log book from lawfully authorized government servants, retaining official vehicle belonging to other officers unauthorizedly, retaining custody of government assets unauthorizedly, misbehaving with government servants…”
The termination order, which was signed by Deputy Secretary G C Yadav, stated that “all eleven charges framed against Shri Sanjiv Bhatt, IPS, stand proved… in spite of several opportunities provided to him, (he) did not avail any of them to prove his innocence”.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Bhatt wrote: “Finally removed from service today after serving 27 years in the Indian Police Service. Once again eligible for employment. :) Any takers?”
Incidentally, the Gujarat government had recently issued a show cause notice to Bhatt after its Home Department received a complaint against him based on an alleged “sex video”.
When contacted, Bhatt questioned the timing of the termination order and the show cause notice. “They issued the show cause notice a day after the removal order only to malign me,” he alleged. “If the government doesn’t want me in service, I am not going to challenge the decision,” he said.
Bhatt has been under suspension since 2011 after he took on the then state government under Narendra Modi over the 2002 Gujarat riots.
A 1988 batch IPS officer, Bhatt had filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court, claiming that he had attended a meeting on February 27, 2002 at Modi’s residence in Gandhinagar, where he claimed the then CM allegedly told his officers to “allow Hindus to vent their anger”.
However, his claim was rejected by the Supreme Court appointed-Special Investigation Team, which probed nine major incidents related to the riots.
Bhatt is also facing a couple of criminal cases, including one related to a custodial death in Jamnagar in 1998. In 2011, he was arrested by Ahmedabad police after a constable lodged an FIR against him claiming that Bhatt forced him to file a false affidavit related to the 2002 riots.