The IPS officer, Sanjeev Bhatt, who alleged the complicity of chief minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots, wanted to be exempted from cross-examination, but his appeal has been turned down by the Nanavati Commission, the probe panel.
Bhatt is to be quizzed by the state counsel, who has alleged that he is not a credible witness, since he is facing departmental inquiries and will go to any lengths for personal gain.
On May 16, Bhatt told the panel he had informed the chief minister’s office when a mob encircled Ahmedabad’s Gulberg society on February 28, but no action was taken. The subsequent attack claimed 69 lives.
On Wednesday, rejecting Bhatt’s application, the two-member panel pointed out that Bhatt had moved the application only when the government wanted to cross-examine him. It has also asked the government to furnish a list of questions it intends to ask Bhatt.
The panel also said Bhatt had willingly given answers to the questions of the Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM), which represents a section of riots victims.
The panel, meanwhile, has posted the hearing on the plea of Jamiat-Ulama-e-Hind (JUH) — seeking to strike off Bhatt’s cross examinations recorded by the panel — for June 14. Claiming that Bhatt is not a witness, the JUH had contended that the commission has to take a decision on Bhatt’s status.
In April, Bhatt had filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court, claiming Modi had asked senior police officers to allow the Hindus to vent their anger on the Muslims following the Godhra carnage. He had claimed that he was present at the emergency meetings held at the chief minister’s residence on February 27 and 28, 2002.