Senior Gujarat IPS officer, in affidavit to SC, implicates CM for 2002 carnage
New Delhi, April 22
Sanjiv Bhatt, who was posted in the Intelligence Department during the riots, has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court, stating that Modi called a meeting of police officers on February 27, 2002.
According to the affidavit, Modi told the police officers that "for too long the state police had been following the principle of balancing the actions against Hindus and Muslims while dealing with communal riots in Gujarat.
"This time the situation warranted that the Muslims be taught a lesson to ensure that such incidents do not recur ever again," Bhatt quoted Modi as saying.
The IPS officer further claimed that the CM expressed the view that emotions were running high among the Hindus and it was imperative that they be allowed to "vent out their anger."
The police officer said he had shared this information with the special investigation team set up by the SC to go into the riots cases, but the SIT did not take him seriously.
He further alleged that the SIT failed to pursue vital leads that could have brought out the role of Modi and other ministers in the riots.
He also said Modi ignored the police advice that allowing a VHP-sponsored bandh would lead to communal violence in Ahmedabad as the police did not have adequate manpower to deal with such a situation. Modi allegedly told the police that "incidents like the burning of karsevaks in Godhra could not be tolerated." According to him, all this resulted in an orchestrated violence that erupted during the bandh on February 28, 2002 and continued for weeks that followed.
Bhatt has also sought security as he feared threat to his life. The SIT interrogated Modi for two consecutive days in March last year.
He, however, denied that any laxity on his part was responsible for the riots.
The 47-year-old Gujarat cadre police officer is currently heading the State Reserve Police Training Centre at Junagadh.
Gujarat Government spokesman Jainarayan Vyas described the affidavit as a view that has been expressed.
But, it can only be said "either correct or wrong" once it passes through the entire process of adjudication, he said.
"That process of adjudication will be gone through before the apex court of the country. So let's wait for that," he added.
The Congress, meanwhile, lashed out at Modi. Gujarat Congress president Arjun Modhwadhia asked the BJP and its high command to give an answer to the nation on Bhatt's charges.
"My question (is) to the BJP...They are asking for the resignation of the Prime Minister...That is a minor issue (on which) they are stalling Parliament...Then what is the answer to the nation by the BJP and its high command?" he asked.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari demanded a reply from "all those who had been showering praises" on Modi, saying that it was "no dark secret that the Gujarat Government was squarely involved" in post-Godhra communal violence in the state.
Though the Congress spokesman insisted that his remarks were not aimed at any individual, there are no prizes for guessing who he was pointing towards social activist Anna Hazare's recent words of praise for Modi. Understandably, the BJP defended Modi, saying that the police officer's affidavit was not the truth.
Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said the judiciary was already looking into the riot cases. "In an affidavit filed by a police officer there is no presumption that it is truthful. Let the judicial mechanism look into it," he said.
Activist Teesta Setalvad, who has been fighting for Gujarat riot victims, said, "This is for the first time we are having a direct evidence of a person who was present there. Here you have a Chief Minister twice elected after the worst massacre in post-independence history who is obviously using his political office to subvert the investigation."
Former senior IPS officer GS Raigarh, who was posted in Gujarat, said he was on leave on the day the meeting took place in February 2002 and did not know what had transpired.
The Supreme Court had in early March asked SIT to submit its report by April 25 on whether any further probe was required against Modi and 62 others in connection with the complaint filed by Zakia Jaffery, whose husband was among 69 killed in the Gulburg society riots.
(With inputs from agencies)