Gujarat Police officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who had accused chief minister Narendra Modi of complicity in the 2002 riots, has told the Nanavati Shah Commission that Modi was informed about the situation in Ahmedabad’s Gulberg society before the attack was launched.
That year, on February 28, 69 people including former Congress parliamentarian Ehsan Jafri, were massacred at the spot by a Hindu mob.
During his first appearance on Monday before the state-appointed two-member commission, Bhatt claimed he had passed on the message to the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) when a mob had encircled the housing complex. Timely action by the police could have prevented the massacre but the inputs he had passed on the CMO were not acted upon, he said.
Bhatt also moved an application before the commission, contending that he had not been allowed access to the intelligence reports and documents that he needed for deposition. He requested the commission to give directions to the state authorities to allow him access to the reports.
Bhatt had written to the director general of police and the additional director general of police (state Intelligence Bureau), seeking access to their documents and records between February 27, 2002 and September 17, 2002.
Asked why he did not depose earlier, Bhatt told the commission that as a serving officer, he was bound by official secrecy rules not to disclose any information unless asked by any authority.
On April 14, Bhatt, who was posted as the superintendent of police in the state Intelligence Bureau during the riots, had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court, accusing Modi of asking police personnel to go slow on Hindu rioters. He claimed that he was present at a meeting held at the chief minister’s residence on the night of February 27, 2002, when these instructions were issued to the senior officers of the state police.