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HindustanTimes Thu,30 Oct 2014

SIT chief's foreign trips sponsored by Modi?

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Ahmedabad, May 10, 2012
First Published: 21:23 IST(10/5/2012) | Last Updated: 21:25 IST(10/5/2012)
Raising doubts on the impartiality and objectivity of the investigation carried out by the SIT headed by Dr RK Raghavan into Gulbarg society massacre case, the Gujarat government has been accused of sponsoring Raghavan's "frequent foreign trips."


 
Gujarat Congress president Arjun Modhwadia has filed an application under RTI seeking details of the expenses borne by the Gujarat government on SIT and also on the travel expenses of Raghavan.
 
Modhwadia has, however, not received any reply from the government as General Administrative Department (GAD) headed by Modi has refused to divulge the details while the Chief Information Commissioner of Gujarat, D Rajgopalan has not passed any order on the appeal pending before the RTI commission in the state.
 
"I have not received any information so it is evident that Modi government wants to hide something," Modhwadia said.
 
Interestingly, Rajgopalan, who was previously chief secretary of Gujarat in 2009-10 when the SIT was probing the role of Modi in Gujarat riots, is related to Raghavan, as their wives are first cousins.
 
Raghavan, who is considered very close to the chief minister, was also given a three month's extension when he retired in 2010. "Chief minister himself had gone to meet union home minister P Chidambaram to clear extension of Rajgopalan as CS," a Gujarat government official said.
 
After he retired, he was made chairman of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL) with a status of a cabinet minister and subsequently, he was appointed as the Chief Commissioner, RTI Gujarat for the period of three years.
 
In fact, Modi had shook hand with Raghavan in 2010 during marriage function of Rajgopalan's daughter's marriage in Chennai in 2010.
 
It is said that Raghavan goes to London frequently because his son is based there working for an investment bank. "He goes to London very often but I don't know if those trips are or were sponsored by the Gujarat government," a senior IAS official of Gujarat cadre but belonging to Tamil Nadu said.
 
According to sources in the government, chairman and members of the SIT are entitled to salary of Rs. 1.5 lakh per month besides other perks like executive class travel for the work of investigation.
 
Meanwhile, despite several attempts, D Rajgopalan or Raghavan were not available for their comments when contacted by HT.
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