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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Apr 2014

Amit Shah asked me to suppress truth: Bhatt

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Ahmedabad, May 23, 2011
First Published: 18:55 IST(23/5/2011) | Last Updated: 11:16 IST(24/5/2011)

IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt on Monday told the state-appointed Nanavati Commission former junior home minister Amit Shah had asked him to suppress the truth regarding the 2002 riots before the special investigation team.

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The special investigation team (SIT), appointed by the Supreme Court, summoned Bhatt first in November 2009 and subsequently he deposed before the SIT several times.

"After I was summoned by the SIT, Amit Shah met me and during his meeting, the former minister tried to tutor me regarding the riots," Bhatt told the commission, which is probing the Godhra and post-Godhra disturbances in Gujarat.

"Shah tried to influence me for not disclosing details of the meeting the chief minister had held on February 27 after the Godhra train-burning incident," he said.

Shah is being investigated by the CBI for allegedly ordering the murder of gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife, Kauser Bi, in November 2005.

In his affidavit before the Supreme Court on April 14, Bhatt stated chief minister Modi had asked police officials and others to "let Hindus vent their anger against minorities following the Godhra incident".

Near Godhra railway station on February 27, 2002, a Muslim mob had torched a bogey of the Sabarmati Express, killing 59 people returning from Ayodhya. The incident had triggered large-scale communal riots in the state.

Moreover, Bhatt also said Modi had instructed the state IB set up to "undermine" a petition filed by social activist Mallika Sarabhai.

"During the period, I was posted in the state intelligence bureau. There was an instruction to undermine the judicial proceedings arising out of public interest litigation filed in the SC regarding the complicity of the state in the communal riots," he claimed.

Former SC judge justice GT Nanavati is heading the Commission while a retired Gujarat HC judge is the other member in it. On Monday, Bhatt was cross-examined by Jan Sangharsh Manch's lawyer.

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