Gujarat cadre IPS officer RS Bhagora, an accused in the 2002 Bilkis Bano case, was dismissed from service by the Union Home Ministry on May 30, a day before his retirement, a senior state government official said today.
In April, the Supreme Court directed the Gujarat government to give Rs 50 lakh, a job, accommodation and compensation to Bilkis Bano who was gang-raped in one of the worst single cases in the 2002 Gujarat riots. During the riots, 14 members of Bilkis' family were killed, including her two-and-half-year old daughter who was snatched from her mother's arms and smashed on a rock.
The 60-year-old officer, who was to retire on May 31, was serving as Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) with the Ahmedabad police when his dismissal order came, said MR Soni, Deputy Secretary (Inquiry), Gujarat Home Department.
"The state Home Department had received a communication from the Union Home Ministry ordering dismissal of Bhagora from service on May 29. We had served the order on May 30, which effectively means he was sacked a day before his retirement," said Mr Soni.
As per the government records, Mr Bhagora, a state police service officer, was promoted to the IPS cadre in 2006. The dismissal means Mr Bhagora will not get benefits entitled to retired government employees.
In March this year, the Supreme Court had asked the Gujarat government to take disciplinary action against the erring police officials, including Mr Bhagora, convicted by the Bombay High Court for dereliction of duty in the Bilkis Bano gang-rape case.
Among the police officials, four -- a deputy superintendent of police, two inspectors and a constable -- have retired from service.
A special court in Mumbai had awarded life sentence to 11 men for raping Ms Bano, who was five months pregnant at the time of the crime.
The trial court had acquitted five policemen, including Mr Bhagora, who were booked for dereliction of duty in the high-profile case.
After their acquittal was challenged, the Bombay High Court in 2017 reversed the lower court order and convicted these five policemen under sections 218 (not performing their duties) and 201 (tampering of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The Supreme Court on July 10, 2017 dismissed the appeals of Bhagora and the other policemen against the HC order, saying there was "clear-cut evidence" against them.
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