Sanjiv Bhatt, the Gujarat cadre IPS officer who shot into limelight after claiming being present at a meeting of chief minister Narendra Modi on the night after the Godhra train carnage in 2002, was suspended from service late on Monday night. A signal for retributory action had beenallegedly given at this meet.
The suspension order, meanwhile, was served on him under rule 3(1) of the All India Service Rules and signed by Varesh Sinha, additional chief secretary (Home) of the Gujarat government.
The order stated that he was being suspended with immediate effect for his various acts of omission and commission and for a conduct unbecoming of a senior IPS officer.
Among the other reasons cited in the letter were remaining unauthorisedly absent from last posting, not appearing before an enquiry when called, and for misuse of the official car.
An IGP-ranked officer, Bhatt was last posted as principal of the SRP training School at Chowky near Junagadh.
Bhatt told IANS that he had received his suspension order around 10 p.m.
"I always kept them informed. Only ten days back I had sought 60 days' leave to take care of my sick mother", he added.
Bhatt said that he was being suspended for unauthorised leave even as he had been busy deposing before the Nanavati-Mehta judicial enquiry commission which is probing the Godhra train carnage and the communal riots that followed in the state thereafter.
Bhatt has been in the eye of Modi after he filed an affidavit in the supreme court stating that he was present at a meeting held at the chief minister's bungalow on the night of Feb 27,2002.
In this meeting, Modi had allegedly hinted to his officers to allow Hindus to vent their anger on the Muslims in the aftermath of the train carnage at Godhra which left 59 passengers burnt to cinders.
The statewide riots that followed thereafter left about 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, as dead. Bhatt was with the state intelligence bureau at the time of the carnage and the subsequent riots.
Bhatt had in his affidavit, also cast aspersions on the functioning of the apex court appointed Special Investigation Team headed by RK Raghavan.
He was also summoned by the Nanavati panel to depose before it and his questioning has been marred by legal wranglings.
As the slugfest between Bhatt and the might of the Gujarat government continues, the state police has filed an FIR against him charging that he coerced a policeman to sign an affidavit testifying that the officer was present at the meeting in question.
Bhatt, in turn, has knocked the doors of the supreme court urging that the investigation into this FIR be transferred outside the Gujarat state.