Contradicting its senior counsel's stated submission regarding destruction of crucial records having evidentiary value relating to the 2002 Gujarat mayhem period, Gujarat's additional chief secretary (home) Balwant Singh said "bulk of the records are available with the government."
"No important file or record or document relating to the 2002 riots has been lost or destroyed. We have, time to time, filed affidavits and placed those records and documents before the apex court, government of India, inquiry commission and other agencies whenever required," he told HT when contacted.
He, however, admitted that log books of a few vehicles may have been destroyed after certain period but other records including phone call records, state intelligence bureau reports and reports prepared by the respective police control rooms are intact and very much available.
When asked the senior counsel SB Vakil, representing the Gujarat government before the state appointed Nanavati inquiry commission probing the riots, was instructed to make a submission regarding destruction of records, Singh said, "I don't think he was instructed to make such submission. I myself an puzzled as to what prompted him to make that statement regarding the records."
On June 29, Vakil, after interrogating the IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt on his deposition before the commission, told the media that the government authorities have not supplied records as sought by Bhatt because those records including vehicle log books, phone call records and IB reports were destroyed in 2007 as per the government rules.
Vakil's statement had cornered the Modi government further on its alleged role in abeting the riots in which 1200 people were killed in a few weeks in the state.
The opposition party Congress, lawyers and social activists had lambasted the Modi administration for carelessly destroying the crucial records which, could potentially have nailed the role of the government in largely anti-minority riots. They had alleged that the act of destroying records was aimed at preventing the truth of 2002 coming to fore.
In May this year, Gujarat's IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt had written to the state authorities seeking access to the records of the state IB and home department in order to make "meaningful deposition" before the two member riots inquiry commission headed by former apex court judge Justice GT Nanavati.
Previously, he had filed an affidavit before the apex court in April, claiming that he had attended an emergency meeting convened by the chief minister Narendra Modi in which he had told the police and administration top brass to let "Hindus vent out their anger against minorities" following the train burning incident at Godhara on February 27, 2002.