A former director general of police has supported suspended IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt's allegation that Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi had instructed senior state officials to allow Hindus to vent their anger following the Godhra train carnage on February 27, 2002.
KS Subramanian, who visited Gujarat after the 2002 anti-Muslim riots as a member of the fact-finding team led by former Supreme Court judge justice VR Krishna Iyer, relied on what he was told by top police officials.
A 1963-batch IPS officer, Subramanian retired as Tripura's DGP in 1997 and is currently a senior research fellow at the Indian Council for Social Science Research in Delhi.
His application to the Supreme Court to be made a party to a Gujarat riots case, which was made public on Wednesday, had gone unnoticed when it was filed in the top court in last May.
The officer said he had met Gujarat police chief K Chakravarthi and PC Pande, then Ahmedabad police commissioner, soon after the riots.
"The applicant (Subramanian) enquired from Mr Chakravarthi as to what had transpired at the February 27 meeting. Chakravarthi candidly said that the chief minister had said to those present in the meeting that a bandh had been called by the VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) the next day to protest the Godhra killings," he stated.
"The chief minister's party, the BJP, was supporting the bandh and he (Modi) said that though there may be law and order problems, the officers should respect Hindu sentiments and act accordingly," Subramanian said.
"PC Pande also gave a similar version of what transpired at the meeting with the chief minister and used almost the same words," he said in the statement.
Bhatt, in his affidavit filed before the Supreme Court last April had stated he had attended the meeting chaired by Modi on February 27, 2002 in which he had instructed senior government officials to allow Hindus to "vent their anger" during the clashes and wanted Muslims to be "taught a lesson".
The Supreme Court, however, had declined to take Bhatt's affidavit on record.
The Special Investigation Team appointed by the top court dismissed Subramanian's application also as "an account based on hearsay."