Sanjiv Bhatt Wiki, Age, Wife, Children, Family, Biography & More

Sanjiv Bhatt

Sanjiv Bhatt is a 1988 batch ex-IPS officer of the Gujarat cadre. He is known for filing litigations against the Gujarat government after the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Wiki/Biography

Sanjiv Rajendra Bhatt was born on Saturday, 21 December 1963 (age 58 years; as of 2021) in Mumbai. [1]Indian Kanoon Sanjiv Bhatt completed his schooling at St. Xaviers High School, Loyola Hall, Ahmedabad in 1981. After completing his schooling, Sanjiv Bhatt pursued his bachelor’s and master’s degree in Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay. He earned his MTech degree in 1985. [2]Firstpost

Physical Appearance

Height (approx.): 5′ 8″

Hair Colour:Β Salt and Pepper

Eye Colour:Β Black

Sanjiv Bhatt

Family

Sanjiv Bhatt belongs to a Kashmiri Pandit family. [3]Sanjiv Bhatt’s tweet

Parents

His father, Rajendra Bhatt, was a manager at the Hutheesing textile mill. His mother, Shakuntala Bhatt, was a doctor.

Dr Shakuntala Bhatt, Sanjiv Bhatt's mother

Dr Shakuntala Bhatt, Sanjiv Bhatt’s mother

Wife & Children

His wife, Shweta Bhatt, is a politician, who is a member of the Indian National Congress. In 2012, she contested the elections against the then CM of Gujarat Narendra Modi from the Maninagar Assembly constituency in Gujarat. She was defeated by Narendra Modi by a margin of 86,373 votes.

Sanjiv Bhatt with his wife Shweta

Sanjiv Bhatt with his wife Shweta

His daughter, Aakashi Bhatt, is a doctor. His son’s name is Shantanu Bhatt.

Sanjiv Bhatt with his daughter and son

Sanjiv Bhatt with his daughter and son

Affairs/Girlfriends

Sanjiv Bhatt met Shweta when they both were preparing for the UPSC examination. Shweta once claimed that the couple dated each other for a year and a half before getting married on 31 December 1987. In an interview, Shweta said,

Sanjiv was determined to be a police officer. We courted for a year and then we got married in 1987 and I gave up my career.”

Sanjiv and Shweta Bhatt together

Sanjiv and Shweta Bhatt together

Religion/Religious Views

Sanjiv Bhatt, through his social media, claims to be agnostic. [4]Sanjiv Bhatt’s official Facebook account

Address

He resides at Bungalow No-2, Sushil Nagar Society, Part 2, Memnagar, Drive In Road, Ahmedabad – 380052.

UPSC

After completing his formal education in 1985, Sanjiv Bhatt appeared for the UPSC examination, which he cleared in 1987. In 1988, he attended the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy (SVPNPA) in Telangana for training.

Career

IPSΒ 

Sanjiv Bhatt became an IPS officer of the Gujarat cadre in 1988. In 1990, he was posted at Jamnagar as an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP). There, during the 1990 communal violence, Bhatt arrested 150 people to restore peace in the area. In 1996, Sanjiv Bhatt was promoted to the rank of Superintendent of Police (SP) and was posted to the Banaskantha district of Gujarat. In 1999, Sanjiv Bhatt was given another promotion, and he was sent to Gandhinagar to take charge of the Gujarat state’s Intelligence Bureau (IB) as a Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Intelligence. He held the post until the end of the 2002 Gujarat riots. As a deputy commissioner of the state’s IB, Sanjiv’s responsibilities included maintaining the security of the coastal areas, internal security as well as security of vital state installations. He was also in charge of the security of the then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi.

Sanjiv Bhatt in his IPS uniform

Sanjiv Bhatt in his IPS uniform

In 2002, after the infamous Gujarat riots, the then CM of Gujarat was accused of mocking the high birth rate among the Muslim community of Gujarat in one of his speeches. When the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) demanded that the transcripts of the speech be handed over to them, the Government of Gujarat refused to have any recordings of the event; however, the state Intelligence Bureau handed over the transcripts to the commission, as a result of which IPS officers like Sanjiv Bhatt and R. B. Sreekumar were shunted by the state government and were sent on punishment postings. [5]Rediff.com An undisclosed state IB official, in an interview, said,

There were attempts by the state government to make the bureau withhold the cassette from the Intelligence Bureau headquarters in Gandhinagar to prevent it from becoming a part of the official records against the Chief Minister.”

After falling out of favour with the Gujarat government in 2002, Sanjiv Bhatt was posted as a Principal of the State Reserve Police Training College in Junagadh. In 2003, Sanjiv Bhatt was once again moved and posted as a Superintendent of Sabarmati Central Jail. As a Superintendent of the jail, Sanjiv became famous among the inmates for his efforts to improve the living standards of inmates. He also gained popularity in the jail for appointing inmates, who were on trial for the 2002 train burning at Godhra, on the trial committee. He further introduced Gajar Ka Halwa. On 18 November 2003, barely two months after being appointed as a Superintendent of the Sabarmati Central Jail, Sanjiv Bhatt was denied promotions owing to many departmental cases that were pending against him. In an interview given to The Indian Express, one of his colleagues claimed that by 2007, when Sanjiv was a Superintendent of Police (SP), many of his batchmates from the academy had been promoted and made Inspector General of Police (IGP). He told the media,

The number of criminal cases and departmental inquiries he faced through various political regimes made him ineligible for any timely promotions. Meanwhile, all his colleagues from the 1988 batch of IPS are already IGPs.”

On 8 August 2011, Sanjiv Bhatt was suspended from the police service by the Gujarat government for remaining absent without taking any leaves for a longer duration of time, and also for using his official vehicle for personal use. Sanjiv Bhatt, in his argument, stated that he was unable to report to the duty as he was being summoned often by the Nanavati-Mehta Commission (NMC), a committee established by the Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government. [6]The Hindu After serving for 27 years, in 2015, he was sacked from the police force for not reporting on duty, and for failing to report before an inquiry committee.

Controversies

Accused of torturing

In 1990, Sanjiv Bhatt was posted as an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) at Jamnagar, where communal violence broke out. The violence was a result of the widespread protests against L. K. Advani’s Rathyatra in the town. The Jamnagar police, led by Bhatt, took 150 rioters into preventive custody. In 1990, a man named Prabhudas Vaishnani, one of the detainees, died in a hospital due to multiple organ failures after his release. His younger brother, Amrutlal Vaishnani, filed an FIR against Sanjiv and five other policemen, and he accused them of resorting to violence against Prabhudas while he was in the custody. He also claimed that Prabhudas was brutally beaten and tortured by the police force before his release. In an interview, Amrutlal claimed,

My brother was beaten with rifle butts, asked to crawl on their elbows and made to do situps. They were not given water or medical attention. Prabhudas’s kidney was damaged because of custodial torture. Bhatt and other cops threatened him to not talk about the torture. CID Crime, which probed the case, had concluded that Prabhudas Vaishnani had died because of inhuman torture.” [7]The Times of India

Reportedly, the Gujarat government appealed to the Gujarat High Court to drop cases against Sanjiv Bhatt and others related to the police atrocities case of 1990; however, when Sanjiv Bhatt filed a litigation against the Gujarat government in 2011, the Gujarat government revoked its appeal from the Gujarat High Court and charge-sheeted Sanjiv along with five other policemen under the police atrocities case of 1990. In 2019, the Supreme Court, in its judgement, convicted Sanjiv Bhatt along Sub-Inspector Dipak Shah, Sub-Inspector Sailesh Pandya, Constable Pravinsih Jadeja, Constable Anopsinh Jethva, and Constable Keshubha Jadeja in the 1990 custodial murder case. The court handed out life imprisonment to Sanjiv, while others were given two years in prison sentence. [8]The Hindu

Accused of framing a Rajasthan-based lawyer

In 1996, Sanjiv Bhatt was posted as a Superintendent of Police (SP) of the Banaskantha district in Gujarat. There, he was accused of framing a Rajasthan-based lawyer, Sumer Singh Rajpurohit, in a false contraband case. In an FIR registered by the Crime Branch of Rajasthan Police, the police stated that Sanjiv Bhatt, R. R. Jain (a former judge of the Gujarat High Court), and his uncle, Phootarmal, had implicated Rajpurohit in the false narcotics case by planting 1.15 kg of Opium in the hotel room of the accused lawyer. The Rajasthan BAR council and former BJP MP from Pali, Pushp Jain, said that Rajpurohit was being harassed by the trio as he owned a shop in Pali’s Vardhaman Market, a posh locality, and the trio wanted him to vacate his shop and hand it over to them. In an interview, Jain said,

To get his shop vacated, the judge, his uncle Phootarmal and the IPS officer kidnapped and implicated Rajpurohit in April 1996.”

Sanjiv Bhatt was also accused of filing a total of forty affidavits in the Supreme Court to delay the court’s judgement. The BAR council accused Bhatt of having himself appointed as the presiding officer in the case by the Gujarat government so that he could appear for the criminal proceedings against himself on the government’s expenditure. On 5 September 2019, Sanjiv Bhatt was arrested by the police on the charges of framing Sumer Singh Rajpurohit in a false narcotics case. [9]The Times of India [10]Indian Kanoon

The alleged meeting at CM’s residence

In 2002, Sanjiv Bhatt appeared before the Nanavati-Mehta commission, and the Concerned Citizens Tribunal, established by a group of NGOs after the 2002 Gujarat riots. Sanjiv Bhatt testified against the Gujarat government before the tribunal and stated that the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, had called an emergency meeting at his residence, of which Sanjiv was a part as well, and he asked the police officers not to “get in the way of Hindu backlash” and “allow the Hindus to vent their anger” to “teach the Muslims a lesson.” According to a list, containing the names of the police officials who had attended the meeting, which was submitted in 2002 to the Nanavati-Mehta Commission by the former Home Minister of Gujarat, late Haren Pandya, Sanjiv Bhatt’s name was not on the list. [11]Gujarat Riots: The True Story – The Truth of the 2002 Riots After examining the evidence presented before the commission, the Nanavati-Mehta commission, in its official statement, stated,

On consideration of the evidence, it clearly appears that Bhatt is not telling the truth with regards to what happened in the meeting held on February 27, 2002, at the CM’s residence. Claims made by him of being present in the meeting appear to be false.”

In 2011, Sanjiv Bhatt filed a petition in the Supreme Court, accusing Narendra Modi of “instigating the 2002 Gujarat riots.” In his petition, Bhatt once again claimed that he was present at the meeting, which was held on 27 February 2002 at the CM’s residence. [12]The Hindu He further accused the CM of allowing the parading of the dead bodies of the Hindus in Ahemdabad killed during the Godhra train incident, despite being warned that it could stir up religious tension in the state. He also accused Narendra Modi of allowing VHP and Bajrang Dal to deliver hate speeches in the state. In his litigation, Sanjiv claimed that he had informed Narendra Modi of the imminent threat which was looming upon the ex-Member of Parliament of Congress Ehsan Jafri, who was later killed during a mob’s attack on the Gulbarg society. In an officially recorded statement, Sanjiv stated,

It was sought to impress upon the Chief Minister (Modi) by me that as per intelligence information, there was a large-scale mobilisation of the Sangh Parivar cadre in major cities as well as in far-flung rural areas of the state. (Then) DGP K. Chakrabarthy and city Police Commissioner P.C. Pande had presented the case before Modi that they were extremely short of manpower in order to meet the situation of Gujarat bandh called by VHP (on February 28, 2002). It was further conveyed that in the case of communal violence, state police resources would be stretched and become ineffective.” [13]India Today

Accused of forcing his narrative upon others

In 2011, Bhatt claimed that there were six witnesses to his arrival at the CM’s residence for the meeting. One of these witnesses was his official driver, Constable K. D. Panth. On 24 June 2011, an FIR was lodged against Sanjiv Bhatt by his former driver, who accused Bhatt of forcing him to sign an affidavit supporting his claims. He further accused Sanjiv Bhatt of forcefully taking him to the residence of Arjun Modhwadia, the then Congress party’s state President, who threatened Panth of facing repercussions if he did not follow Bhatt’s orders [14]Firstpost. Following the filing of an FIR, the state police arrested Bhatt on 30 September 2011. After his arrest, Sanjiv Bhatt accused Panth of following the state government’s orders. Giving a clarification on the allegations against him, K. D. Panth said,

I have reported the incident in the FIR that I was made to sign the affidavit by the wrong means. And I have mentioned everything in the FIR. I have lodged the FIR (First Information Report) based on the situations I have been through and on whatever I faced. Therefore, there is no question of any pressure from anyone.” [15]Deccan Herald

Accused of hacking the emails

After Bhatt was arrested in 2011, Tushar Mehta, who was the Advocate General of Gujarat in 2002, lodged an FIR against the former IPS officer, accusing him of stealing information by hacking into his emails. Bhatt, in his defence, accused Tushar Mehta of sharing the Supreme Court’s constituted SIT’s highly confidential data with the state authorities. Sanjiv Bhatt’s wife, in defence of her husband, said that Sanjiv only accessed Mehta’s computer and his mail account to help him book tickets as Tushar Mehta did not know how to operate a computer. In 2015, Sanjiv Bhatt filed a litigation in the Supreme Court, seeking an independent probe by the Supreme Court in the two FIRs lodged against him by Panth and Mehta because he believed the FIRs to be politically motivated. [16]Hindustan Times

Blaming the SIT

In 2008, to investigate the incidents related to the 2002 Gujarat riots, an SIT was constituted by the order of the Supreme Court under the chairmanship of the then Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) R. K. Raghavan. The Supreme Court, in 2010, appointed Ramachandran Raju as its amicus curiae (advisor to the court), who reviewed the reports filed by the SIT. In 2010, he submitted the report of his findings to the Supreme Court in which he mentioned Sanjiv Bhatt’s statement about visiting the CM’s residence for the emergency meeting in 2002 to be true. In his report, Ramachandran Raju stated,

In my opinion, despite the aforesaid background, it does not appear very likely that a serving police officer would make such a serious allegation against Mr. Modi, the Chief Minister of the State, without some basis. There is no documentary material of any nature whatsoever which can establish that Shri Bhatt was not present in the meeting on 27.02.2002.”

In 2011, Sanjiv Bhatt accused the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of tampering with the evidence to shield the Gujarat government. He further accused the SIT of leaking information about the Godhra probe to Tushar Mehta. In an interview, Bhatt claimed,

I happened to access Mehta’s account to do some ticket and hotel bookings for their vacations, one to Goa in September 2009 and another to the US in May-June 2010, when I saw emails from the SIT probing Godhra, in his inbox.”

In June 2011, Bhatt filed a litigation against the SIT, accusing them of hacking into his email account and leaking the information to the Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government. The Supreme Court declared Bhatt’s claims to be “false, misleading, and baseless.” The court further stated that the “sacked IPS Sanjiv Bhatt did not come with clean hands,” and he had shared emails about making it difficult for the judges to deliver a judgement on the trial with an activist of Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA). In its judgement, the bench concluded,

The contents of the e-mail exchanged by Bhatt, who was a high ranking officer, with an activist of Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) in which he has “mentioned to create a situation so as to make it difficult for a 3-Judge Bench of this Court to disregard shortcomings of SIT and exerting pressure by the groups and opinion makers in Delhi.” [17]The Economic Times

Inactivity of the authorities in controlling the riots

In 2012, Sanjiv Bhatt produced evidence of the police force’s inactivity during the 2002 Gujarat riots to the SIT. Bhatt claimed that he had detailed information on the deployment of the Rapid Action Force (RAF), and the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF). He further accused the then CM of Gujarat Narendra Modi of deploying the forces in a manner, where they could not do much to control the riots. He also accused the authorities of delaying the deployment of the Indian Army to control the riots. Bhatt also accused the police force of laxity in detaining the rioters to control the riots. In a letter written by Sanjiv Bhatt to SIT, he stated,

Please find… copies of some relevant documents which should convince you that for some inexplicable reason, Ahmedabad City Police were exceptionally lax in making preventive arrests on February 27, 2002, despite the anticipated likelihood of widespread retributory violence.”

Haren Pandya murder allegations

On 26 March 2003, Haren Pandya, former Home Minister of Gujarat, was assassinated by some unidentified gunmen while he was out on a walk. In 2011, during a court trial, Sanjiv Bhatt accused the then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi and his Home Minister, Amit Shah, of mounting pressure on him to destroy crucial evidence that he had collected while he was posted as a Superintendent of Sabarmati Central Jail. He claimed that while he was posted at the jail, he met a few prisoners like Asgar Ali, who were accused of planning the murder. Sanjiv claimed that Asgar told him that the attack on the former home minister was carried out by a man named Tulsiram Prajapati, who was killed in 2006 in a fake encounter by the Gujarat police. When Bhatt told the then Home Minister of Gujarat, Amit Shah, about it, he was ordered to immediately destroy all the evidence he had. Upon refusing to destroy the evidence, Bhatt was transferred from jail. In his affidavit. Sanjiv Bhatt claimed,

Failing to persuade me either to withdraw my report or destroy the very important documentary evidences regarding the role of certain highly placed State functionaries/politicians and senior police officers in the killing of Haren Pandya, I was removed from the post of Superintendent of Police in-charge of the Sabarmati central jail and was kept without a posting for over two-and-a-half months.” [18]The Hindu

The Supreme Court’s decision

On 13 October 2015, the Supreme Court formed a bench comprising Chief Justice H. L. Dattu and Justice Arun Mishra. After conducting the trial, the bench concluded that Sanjiv Bhatt had worked in collaboration with some political parties and social activists to falsely present the evidence against Narendra Modi, and wrongly accused him of inciting the 2002 Gujarat riots. The court further stated that Bhatt, despite being a senior IPS officer, showed unprofessionalism by acting on the gestures of others, fulfilling their agenda. In its judgement, the apex court stated,

The exchange of emails which are self-explanatory indicates that the petitioner was in active touch with leaders of the rival political party, NGOs, and their lawyers tried to play the media card and was being tutored by NGOs. The manner in which he acted is apparent from the aforesaid emails and need not be repeated. Petitioner had probably forgotten that he was a senior IPS officer. Thus the entire conduct of the petitioner indicates that he was not acting bona fide and was catering to interests elsewhere. Even if we ignore his antecedents vividly mentioned in reply of SIT for time being, his aforesaid conduct does not inspire confidence.”

Accused of presenting false claims against Prime Minister Narendra Modi

In June 2022, a joint litigation against the SIT’s clean chit to Narendra ModiΒ was rejected by the Supreme Court. The litigation was jointly filed by Sanjiv Bhatt, Teesta Setalvad, Zakia Jafri, and R. B. Sreekumar. With the litigation, the Supreme Court also quashed all of Sanjiv Bhatt’s allegations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Gujarat government. The court in its verdict stated that the trio played with the emotions of the 2002 Gujarat riot victim Zakia JafriΒ for their gains with malafide intentions. An FIR was lodged against Sanjiv Bhatt for procuring “false and misleading” evidence against the Prime Minister. The FIR was lodged by the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of the Gujarat police under Sections 468, 471 (forgery), 194 (giving or fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction of capital offence), 211 (institute criminal proceedings to cause injury), 218 (public servant framing incorrect record or writing with intent to save a person from punishment or property from forfeiture), and 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. [19]LawBeat The Supreme Court in its judgement stated,

At the end of the day, it appears to us that a coalesced effort of the disgruntled officials of the State of Gujarat along with others was to create a sensation by making revelations which were false to their own knowledge. The falsity of their claims had been fully exposed by the SIT after a thorough investigation. The present proceedings (by Zakia Jafri) have been pursued for the last 16 years including with the audacity to question the integrity of every functionary involved in the process of exposing the devious stratagem adopted, to keep the pot boiling, obviously, for ulterior design. As a matter of fact, all those involved in such abuse of process, need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with the law. For, persons not privy to the stated meeting, where utterances were allegedly made by the then Chief Minister, falsely claimed themselves to be eye-witnesses, and after thorough investigation by the SIT, it has become clear that their claim of being present in the meeting was itself false to their knowledge. We hasten to add that it is only because of the ultra-sensational revelation projected by Sanjiv Bhatt and Haren Pandya, who unabashedly claimed to be privy to the utterances made by the then Chief Minister in an official meeting, that the constitutional functionaries and this Court was required to move into action taking serious note of the same. But, after thorough investigation by the SIT, the falsity of such claim has been fully exposed on the basis of credible indisputable materials collated by the SIT during the investigation in that regard.” [20]The Indian Express

On 13 July 2022, the SIT, constituted by the Supreme Court, took the former IPS officer into custody and produced him before a metropolitan court in Ahmedabad. He was taken into custody on the charges of presenting forged evidence, including a transcript of a wireless alert message, before the Nanavati-Mehta Commission against those accused of playing a role in the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Facts/Trivia

  • In an interview given to The Indian Express, Shweta Bhatt, Sanjiv’s wife, claimed that Sanjiv was Gujarat’s first IPS officer, who was recruited directly into the state’s cadre at a time when Gujarat did not have many aspirants who wanted to join the police force as an officer.
  • While giving an interview to The Indian Express, Sanjiv Bhatt’s wife Shweta said that Sanjiv used to go for a 15 km run to maintain his physical fitness.
  • In 2003, when Sanjiv Bhatt was transferred from the Sabarmati Jail, approximately 3000 inmates went on a strike which nearly lead to a riot. [21]The Times of India
  • In an open letter written to the then CM of Gujarat in 2012, Sanjiv Bhatt accused Narendra Modi of using his followers as pawns and sacrificing them for his personal gains. He also accused Narendra Modi of killing innocents to affirm his hold on power in the state. [22]Hindustan Times
  • In 2013, Sanjiv Bhatt was awarded Mother Teresa Memorial International Award for Social Justice by the Harmony Foundation.

    Sanjiv Bhatt during the award ceremony of the Mother Teresa Memorial International Award

    Sanjiv Bhatt during the award ceremony of the Mother Teresa Memorial International Award

  • In 2018, after the Supreme Court’s order, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) demolished the illegally constructed parts of his bungalow. [23]The Times of India
  • Sanjiv Bhatt, on social media, introduces himself as an Inspector General of Police (IGP).

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