In another explosive reveal in the Bilkis Bano case, at least four of the 11 convicts freed prematurely in August face charges of threatening and harassing witnesses while out on parole.
NDTV has accessed multiple FIRs and police complaints against the convicts, which runs contrary to the justification of the Gujarat government that the convicts were released for good behaviour and that there was no evidence that they had done anything wrong while serving time.
Between 2017-2021, at least four witnesses in the Bilkis Bano case have registered complaints and FIRs, NDTV’s investigation reveals.
NDTV has accessed one FIR and two police complaints.
*An FIR dated July 6, 2020, was registered against two of the convicts, Radheshyam Shah and Miteshbhai Bhatt.
The FIR was filed at Radhikpur police station in Dahod under sections 354 (assault or criminal force with intention to outrage modesty), 504 (intimidation), 506 (2) (threat to kill) and 114 (abetment) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) by Saberaben Patel, and a witness in the Bilkis Bano case, Pintubhai.
The FIR says three men, including two convicts and Radheshyam’s brother Ashish, threatened Saberaben, her daughter Arfa and witness Pintubhai for incriminating them with their statements.
The trial is ongoing in Limkheda Court.
2. Mansuri Abdul Razzaq Abdul Majid, another witness, filed a police complaint with Dahod police against Sailesh Chimmanlal Bhatt on January 1, 2021. He alleged that he received threats from the convict while he was out on parole.
The complaint also alleges that Limkheda MLA Sailesh Bhai Bhabhor and former minister of state and Lok Sabha MP Jaswantsing Bhabhor felicitated Sailesh Chimmanlal Bhatt and praised him for “good deeds”. A photo of the two BJP leaders sharing stage with Sailesh Bhatt was also attached in the complaint.
This complaint never turned into an FIR.