New Delhi, (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the plea by sacked Gujarat cadre IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt seeking an SIT probe into allegations that he had hacked into the email account of Gujarat additional advocate general Tushar Meht, and tampered with it.
Mehta is at present the additional solicitor general. Bhatt’s services were terminated on August 18.
A bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice Arun Mishra, while rejecting Bhatt’s plea, said: “No case is made out to constitute SIT. No doubt about it ‘be you ever so high, the law is above you’ is a well-accepted principle but in the instant case the conduct of the petitioner cannot be said to be above board.”
Asking the trial court to proceed with the trial in the case where Bhatt is accused of pressurising his subordinate K.D. Panth to file an affidavit allegedly under pressure, it said the investigation into the alleged hacking and tampering of Mehta’s email account be completed expeditiously.
Speaking for the bench, Justice Mishra said: “Neither it can be said that he (Bhatt) has come to the court with clean hands. Petitioner was a high-ranking officer but he too cannot be said to be above law. He must undergo the investigation as envisaged by law in case he has committed the offences in question.”
Rejection of Bhatt’s plea includes his application seeking to implead Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah and RSS ideologue S. Gurumurthy as parties in his petition.
Referring to the emails exchanged between Bhatt and the leaders of a political party, NGO and media persons, the judgment said: “The exchange of e-mails which are self-explanatory indicate that the petitioner was in active touch with leaders of a rival political party, NGOs, their lawyers, tried to play media card, was being tutored by NGOs. The manner in which he acted is apparent from the aforesaid e-mails and need not be repeated.”
The court further said that Bhatt had “probably forgotten that he was a senior IPS officer. In case he was fairly stating a fact after 9 years he ought not to have entered into the aforesaid exercise and kept away from all politics and activism of creating pressure, even upon 3-judge bench of this court, amicus and many others”.
“Thus the entire conduct of petitioner (Bhatt) indicates that he was not acting bona fide and was catering to the interest elsewhere. Even if we ignore his antecedents vividly mentioned in reply of SIT for time being, his aforesaid conduct does not inspire confidence.”
The court noted that Bhatt in his statement before the SIT in 2009 did not talk about the February 27, 2002 meeting where the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi had allegedly asked the officers to let people vent their anger in the wake of Godhra train carnage earlier in the day.
However, in 2011, Bhatt told the SIT about the said meeting held at the chief minister’s residence.
The court said his explanation “does not appear to be prima facie credible”.
It also declined Bhatt’s plea seeking initiation of criminal contempt, saying that on merits, it doesn’t find any case is made out, and the matter is anyway barred by limitation.