Bilkis Bano case: IPS Bhagora sacked a day before retirement

The Supreme Court awarded a compensation of Rs 50 lakh to Bano, gang-raped in Randhikpur village in Dahod district during the Gujarat riots

Bilkis Bano

Ahmedabad: Gujarat cadre IPS officer RS Bhagora, an accused in the 2002 Bilkis Bano case, was dismissed from service by the Union Home Ministry on 30 May, a day before his retirement, a senior state government official said Friday.

The 60-year-old officer, who was to retire on 31 May, 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 29 May. We had served the order on 30 May, which effectively means he was sacked a day before his retirement,” said Soni.

As per the government records, Bhagora, a State police service officer, was promoted to the IPS cadre in 2006.

The dismissal means 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 Bhagora, convicted by the Bombay High Court for dereliction of duty in the sensational Bilkis Bano gang-rape case during the 2002 communal riots in the State.

Among the erring police officials, four — a deputy superintendent of police, two inspectors and a constable — have already retired from service.

The Supreme Court had also awarded a compensation of Rs 50 lakh to Bano, who was gang-raped in Randhikpur village in Dahod district during the post-Godhra riots.

On Bano’s request, the apex court had transferred the case to Mumbai in August 2004.

A special court in Mumbai had awarded life sentence to 11 men for raping Bano, who was five-month pregnant at the time of the crime, and murdering seven of her family members during the riots.

The trial court had acquitted five policemen, including Bhagora, who were booked for dereliction of duty in the high-profile case.

After their acquittal was challenged, the Bombay High Court had 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 had 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. PTI PJT PD RSY