AHMEDABAD, Sept 30: A senior Indian police officer who accused Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi of complicity in the massacre of Muslims during the 2002 riots was arrested on Friday, his lawyer said.

Sanjeev Bhatt, who has been locked in a confrontation with Mr Modi, was arrested in state capital Gandhinagar following a complaint against him by a junior police constable.

Constable K. D. Pant accused Mr Bhatt of forcing him to sign an affidavit that the senior officer was present at a meeting where Mr Modi allegedly asked police officers to be “indifferent” to the killing of Muslims.

Mr Bhatt's lawyer said the arrest of his client was an attempt to silence the allegations of brutality against Mr Modi.

“This is an attempt to intimidate a witness (Mr Bhatt) who has deposed against the Modi government in connection with the 2002 riots,” Mr Bhatt's lawyer I. H. Syed said.

“This action of the government is to prevent the truth from coming out.” The Gujarat government suspended Mr Bhatt in August, accusing him of taking unauthorised leave from duty.

Mr Modi, a prominent member of the Bharatiya Janata Party and touted as a future prime minister, has long been accused by human rights groups of turning a blind eye to the violence that killed around 2,000 Muslims in the Gujarat state.

He has always denied any wrongdoing in connection with the riots.

The riots erupted after 59 Hindu pilgrims perished in a blaze at a railway station in Gujarat, sparking an anti-Muslim backlash that resulted in some of India's worst religious violence since independence in 1947.—AFP

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