Everybody who blows a whistle ain't a whistle blower
The Distorted World of the “Modi-phobes”
This article by me, my best so far in political commentaries, was written for Critical Thinkers.
The word Narendra Modi has a certain ominous ring to it. Depending upon your political ideology, you either ‘prepare yourself to launch a verbal barrage of Gujarat riots, communalism, Muslim killer blah, blah, blah and close your ears to all development-under-Modi talk’ or ’you go on to defend his case passionately, quoting the Gujarat growth model under his leadership and refuse to accept the 2002 communal riots story.’
The word Narendra Modi does that. It makes you take sides without even giving a thought to issue at hand. It forces you to choose either black or white. No greys allowed. And the most interesting part of the story is, almost everybody seems to know a thing or two about him, or at least about his alleged complicity in the riots that blazed Gujarat 9 years back (which has been investigated by a SIT of the Supreme Court and now referred back to a lower court in Gujarat, on 12th September 2011) . Ask them where they came to know about it from, and they say “oh, it’s all over the media”. So it turns out that when the media itself is biased about some issue, say for e.g. if 100 voices drown a single upstream sailing voice and if those 100 voices are all that is visible, then what those 100 voices say automatically becomes the truth.
We are not going to discuss Mr. Modi’s alleged complicity in the 2002 communal riot or the development the state has made under his leadership. Probably you have already read too much on that lately. What we are going to do is talk about Sanjeev Bhatt instead. A name that immediately brings to mind the name of Narendra Modi. Here’s a brief prologue to the story we will be analyzing…
Sanjeev Bhatt, the man who was arrested on 30th September and released on bail a month ago, on 17th October, an SP hailed as ‘whistle blower’ of the Gujarat riot, is an IPS officer of the 1988 batch of Gujarat cadre.
It is likely that you have heard about him also since his arrest made the media launch a fresh wave of vilification campaign against the easy-to-hate Modi. So, basically it is two reasons why he was in news recently: his arrest and his junior Mr. Pant’s complaint against him. Now the arrest of an IPS officer- or any civil servant for that matter happens under relatively extraordinary circumstances.
Before we get into those extraordinary circumstances, let’s have a look at his chequered career record :
Tried in court for: Planting drugs in an innocent Rajasthan lawyer’s hotel room during his tenure as SP of Banaskantha, Gujarat (The National Human Rights Commission had passed strictures against Bhatt for “falsely involving a person in a criminal case”, a lawyer Mr. Sumer Singh Rajput, WELL BEFORE MODI APPEARED ON THE SCENE).
Rigging police recruitment and hence misusing authority (He was at the center of a recruitment scam that hit Gujarat during his tenure as SP of Banaskantha, Gujarat, in May 1996, again WELL BEFORE MODI APPEARED ON THE SCENE).
Committing atrocities by misusing the TADA(accused in one person’s custodial death on 18th November 1990 due to draconian application of TADA, during the “Bharat Bandh’ call in Jamnagar on 30/10/1990, again, needless to say, WELL BEFORE MODI APPEARED ON THE SCENE).
Facilitating land grab(lodged false criminal case against the opponent of the person he helped under Prohibition Act WELL BEFORE NARENDRA MODI APPEARED ON THE SCENE)
Apart from these gross acts of shameful misconduct, he has also been charge sheeted for Keeping more orderlies than the sanctioned number (charge sheeted on 30/09/1999, one funny incident-he kept 22 constables at his residence when posted as DCP in Rajkot!)
Latest episode of his violation filled career- the allegation that Bhatt bullied his junior, police constable K.D Panth into signing a false affidavit regarding Mr. Modi’s complicity in the riots.
Now about Mr. Panth’s complaint against Mr. Bhatt.The complaint states that he was in Mumbai, on leave, from 25th February to 28th February, 2002 for some work. It essentially pertains to Mr. Bhatt having bullied him to state that he went with him to the meeting Mr. Modi had with senior bureaucrats on 27th February, 2002, having assured Mr. Pant that he would be safe, by taking him to Gujarat Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia and having bullied him again to say that his disposition before the SIT of the SC was taken under duress.
Here, it is noteworthy to say that he was also asked to paintthe SIT as a team of arm twisters. That meeting on 27th February, 2002, is the crux around which all the allegations have flown, thick and fast, with this disgruntled IPS officer Mr. Sanjeev Bhatt claiming that he was there in the meeting when Mr. Modi remarked that “let the Hindus vent their anger”.
Here is the inside story of that meeting: The group of senior bureaucrats present at the meeting deny that the CM said any such thing. None of the said bureaucrats could recall his presence there. The chief of police of Gujarat at that time has emphasized that Bhatt was too junior to be invited to that meeting. Mr. R.B Shreekrishna-no friend of Modi-former Gujrat DGP hasn’t mentioned in his affidavit before the SIT the name of Bhatt among the ones who had attended that meeting. The SIT’s questions about specific people and whether they were present in the room that day, were met with confused, unclear answers.
Before we move on to inspect another less known facet of this story, let’s look at some more info (no, not about Mr. Bhatt’s shady record anymore) that might prove to be just the tipping point to tilt your views, understandably hardened by the feeds from the Modi-phobe media: Mr. Bhatt keeps claiming that he has massive amount of documents to implicate Mr. Modi and other ‘powerful’ people in Gujrat administration but till date has not produced a single shred of evidence. The self proclaimed and now media designated principled man refused the court’s offer of bail on the condition that he allows the police to access his bank lockers.Known to have approached the ‘malicious’ Modi baiters Teesta Setalvad and Shabnam Hashmi who had their few years of fame by resorting to every trick in their hats, including filing false affidavits and tutoring witnesses and internationalizing the issue to defame Mr. Modi(for the less politically inclined readers who may have missed the Teesta Setalvad expose, by her own partner-in-crime, Rais Khan. Bhatt’s affidavit was notarized by the same advocate who notarized all those false and/or tutored witnesses produced by Miss Setalvad. Bhatt’s email exchanges with Gujrat Congress opposition leader S.S Gohil (wherein Bhatt asks him for a new Blackberry phone as promised!) point to a complex dynamics of desperation, political opportunism and trying to nail that one possible trick against Modi that will work. The English language media has always been left liberal, admitted. So Modi has hardly found as much favor as any other CM in spite of his efforts, due to his hardline Hindutva image, understandable. The Modi-phobes live in a distorted world of their own, refusing to look at the umpteen positives that have come up during his tenure, no denying. But the stooping down of the Congress to strangulate Mr Modi points to vendetta and sheer political opportunism- keeping this man continuing with his baseless allegations by openly supporting him as a ‘whistle blower’ by Chidambaram, the Congress poking its nose in the disciplinary committee’s charges against him and now the UPA making a mockery of our federal structure by appointing the Lokyukta of the state w/o consulting the CM, going against the rules laid down in the constitution, by the Governor- the office of which is now conveniently being used to keep opposition CMs in check. The Congress’ hypocrisy could not be clearer on this Sanjeev Bhatt issue.
In the case of the cash-for-votes case involving the bribing of BJP MPs before the confidence vote of July 2008, the Delhi police, an agency under the Union Home Ministry, has opposed the bail of Mr. Sudheendra Kulkarni and two former BJP MPs. Just note what the public prosecutor Mr. Rajan Mohan has to say on the issue. “Every accused in the case terms himself a whistle blower as if they have saved the country. If they are taking the plea of being whistle blowers in the scam, they have to establish it by way of evidence. Not even a single aspect shows that they were actually whistle blowers.”
Should not this apply to Sanjiv Bhatt as well? But who cares?You and I just look at the surface and jump to the conclusion that if an ordinary IPS officer is taking on a CM, he must be telling the truth. We don’t scratch the surface mainly because we, the youth, don’t really have the inclination to go do our bit of research and then form our opinion. We are too busy in our own little world and just happy to sail in the same boat as most of the world does. In fact the attitude gets hardened to such an extent at times on certain issues that we are not ready to give some thought to dis confirmatory information.
I know not everybody who reads this article will agree with my case that Mr. Sanjeev Bhatt has undeservedly been hailed as a whistle blower. There will be people who will ask me my political ideology (No, I don’t belong to the right wing ideology. In fact, I don’t have a political ideology or affiliation to any political party. I base my judgments on sheer individual merit of the case). There will be people who will ask if I am a fan of Narendra Modi (That doesn’t change anything. I am one, but that doesn’t make me forget that I have a strong head of my own on my shoulders that needs to be used). There will be people who will question my inferences (Being a psychology student, I have taken extreme care to avoid errors in my social cognition, that is, if such a thing is possible…haha). But I am not afraid of such cynics. You may not agree with me. But if I could make you read the entire article, my job is done. Cynicism is absolutely necessary in politics.
I remember the MP Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda once addressing a group of college students in North Campus, saying that “not everybody needs to participate in politics in a direct manner, as in contesting elections. If people just keep up their cynicism, making sure they debate government’s policies, find out flaws, ask questions, demand answers and never let the government lose its accountability, then they can rest assured that they have done their job.” Meaningful lines!!