Ahmedabad: Sanjiv Bhatt, the policeman who has become famous for taking on Narendra Modi, has been granted bail by a court in Gujarat.
Mr Bhatt has accused the Chief Minister of complicity in the Gujarat riots of 2002. He was arrested on September 30 for fabricating evidence - police constable KD Pant said Mr Bhatt forced him to file an affidavit supporting his testimony against Mr Modi. During Mr Bhatt's week-long fight for bail, the Gujarat Police argued that if he is freed, he will tamper with evidence against him.
"These 17 days in the jail were like a sabbatical... my cause is bigger than me," said Mr Bhatt, who was showered with petals by friends, family members and supporters as he returned to his home in Drive in area of Ahmedabad.
Speaking to NDTV, Mr Bhatt said that everyone knows the truth of 2002. "Everyone knows what I stand for, what Modi stands for... I want to ensure criminals of 2002 riots be brought to book," he said.
Mr Bhatt claims that on February 27, 2002, he attended a meeting of policemen called by Mr Modi, who allegedly said that rioters should not be reined in. Mr Bhatt recalls Mr Modi as saying that it was imperative for Hindus to be allowed to "vent out their anger." Mr Bhatt filed an affidavit stating his version of events in the Supreme Court in April this year. Other policemen who were at the meeting say Mr Bhatt was not present. Mr Pant's affidavit declared the opposite, but he later said that statement had been coerced from him.
Sessions judge VK Vyas said that it's possible that Mr Pant may have remembered after filing his affidavit that he was actually not in Ahmedabad on February 27; it was Mr Pant's many versions of his statement that the judge described as "unnatural."
Mr Bhatt filed his headlining document against Mr Modi in April. He was suspended by the Gujarat Police in August for skipping work and using an official car when he was not on duty. He was arrested in September.
Mr Bhatt, the opposition Congress, and activists accuse Mr Modi of trying to persecute Mr Bhatt as payback for his allegations.
While Mr Bhatt was in jail, his wife Shweta repeatedly urged Home Minister P Chidambaram to ensure he was given adequate security. She said her husband was being treated like a terrorist, and that there was legitimate reason to believe he would be killed while in jail. "I had great faith in the judiciary. My heartfelt thanks to all the people who supported and stood by me," she said today.
But this is not the only legal entanglement for Mr Bhatt. The state government has begun investigating him for a custody death in 1996.