The Gujarat government has announced a special investigative team to probe charges of criminal conspiracy and forgery, among others, against former DGP R B Sreekumar, activist Teesta Setalvad and ex-IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt. The three were charged following a Supreme Court order upholding a clean chit to the Modi government in the 2002 riots, which passed strictures against the three. The FIR against the three quotes extensively from the Supreme Court order.
A profile of the SIT
Deepan Bhadran: The head of the team, the 41-year-old police officer is a native of Kerala and an IPS officer of the 2007 batch. A B.Tech in Electronics Engineering, he has served at various crucial positions in the Gujarat Police, including the much-coveted DCP, Crime, Ahmedabad, post from 2015 to 2020, and as in-charge SP of the Gujarat ATS. During his Ahmedabad stint, he upgraded policing skills with crucial software inputs.
As DCP, Crime, among the cases he handled was the assassination attempt on former home minister Gordhan Zadafia, and tracing of the Tablighi Jamaat workers who had attended a Delhi congregation ahead of the Covid pandemic, and a Jet Airways threat letter case.
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In September 2020, Bhadran was transferred as the SP of Jamnagar to deal with land mafia in the city. The move was welcomed on Twitter by Reliance Industries Director, Corporate Affairs, and Rajya Sabha MP Parimal Nathwani, who said, “Your posting here will give a great relief to the law-abiding citizens, land owners, builders, businessmen, traders & factory owners of the area.” Jamnagar is home to the Reliance refinery and several critical installations.
Bhadran’s biggest achievement in the posting was busting of a land mafia gang led by Jayesh Patel, whose several members were arrested before Patel himself was detained by Interpol in London in March 2021.
This led to Bhadran being promoted as Deputy Inspector General (DIG), ATS, Ahmedabad Headquarters. It was done by upgrading the vacant ex-cadre post of SP, ATS, to the vacant ex-cadre post of DIG, ATS in December 2021.
Chaitanya Mandalik: Also a B.Tech, in Civil Engineering, Mandlik, 36, is an IPS of 2011 batch. Originally from Maharashtra, he had ruffled a few feathers as a probationary officer in 2013 when he had busted a gambling den of a BJP member in Rajkot and then led a raid against the same leader’s godown to seize liquor worth Rs 1 crore.
Mandlik served as ASP, Diyodar, Banaskantha, in 2015; SP, Mehsana, from 2016 to 2018; and SP, Sabarkantha, till 2021. During his time in Mehsana and Sabarkantha, Mandlik was credited with controlling law and order following the Patidar agitation. In January 2021, he was transferred as DCP, Crime, Ahmedabad.
Sunil Joshi: An IPS officer of 2010 batch, the 37-year-old Joshi served as SP, Valsad, from 2016 to 2020, and later as SP, Devbhoomi Dwarka. In November 2021, while he was posted at Devbhoomi Dwarka, he had seized Rs 313 crore worth of drugs, leading to the arrest of three people. As a promotion posting, he was transferred to the ATS last year.
B C Solanki: A state cadre officer, Solanki, 61, retired last year as Assistant Commissioner of Police, Special Operations Group (SOG), Ahmedabad, and is currently on extension. He has been named the investigating officer in the Teesta-Sreekumar-Bhatt case. Solanki was part of the Supreme Court-appointed SIT that probed the 2002 Gujarat riot cases (it was the clean chit by the SIT that was upheld by the Supreme Court) and, in 2018, while posted as ACP, SOG, probed allegations against Setalvad’s organisation Citizens for Justice and Peace of illegally exhuming bodies related to the 2002 riots.
P G Vaghela: Deputy SP Vaghela was among the 18 officers who investigated the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts which led to the death of 56 people. A court recently convicted 49 people for the blasts, with death sentences to 38. The Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) team including Vaghela, 56, led by now Gujarat DGP Ashish Bhatia, had made the first arrest after 19 days of investigation, including tracking lakhs of cellphone calls.
A D Parmar: Parmar, 61, retired as an inspector and is currently on extension. He was also part of the Supreme Court-appointed SIT which probed the Gujarat riots, and later served in the SOG of Ahmedabad Police and the Crime Branch.
Hiral Raval: A police inspector with the Ahmedabad DCB, Raval, who is in his late 20s, is a direct recruit in the Gujarat Police through GPSC.
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