Cops want to destroy papers in Sanjiv Bhatt’s possession: Teesta Setalvad (Oct 5, 2011, DNA India)

Why are the city police so desperately demanding access to arrested IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt’s bank lockers or what were they looking for when they carried out searches at his house and that of his mother? Sources believe that Bhatt is in possession of many crucial documents which could put many officials and politicians in trouble if they became public.

The police have sought the court’s permission to check Bhatt’s bank lockers. The court is yet to decide on their petition but the urgency shown by the police has raised questions about their intention. “The suggestion that the Gujarat police should be allowed to search Bhatt’s lockers is shocking and ludicrous as it is tantamount to allowing the accused access to evidence using a key given by a witness,” said Teesta Setalvad, convenor of the human rights organisation, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP).

Bhatt is a crucial witness in several cases in which senior functionaries of the Gujarat government are accused of conspiring to commit mass crimes, destroying evidence and subverting the course of justice. “Chief minister Narendra Modi is accused number 1 in the criminal complaint of Zakia Jafri. But he is also in-charge of the Annual Confidential Reports of all police officers. Such a search would allow the powerful accused to destroy evidence,” Setalvad said.

The police have already conducted raids on Bhatt’s residence and that of his mother but the only thing they could seize was a CPU from his home. Talking to DNA, former DGP RB Sreekumar said that the police may be after the documents which Bhatt is believed to have in his possession and which could nail the accused in the post-Godhra riots.


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