The Gujarat cadre Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt on Monday deposed before the Gujarat state appointed Nanavati-Shah Commission investigating the 2002 Gujarat riots.
During his appearance, Bhatt moved an application before the commission contending that he has not been allowed access to intelligence reports and documents which he needed for deposition.
He requested the commission to give directions to the state authorities to allow him access to the reports. The Commission asked Bhatt why he did not depose before it first. Bhatt informed the Commission that he was bound by the secrecy rules as a serving officer to not disclose any information unless specifically asked for by any authority.
Bhatt had written a letter to the DGP and the Additional DGP (State Intelligence Bureau), seeking access to documents and records of the SIB between February 27, 2002 to 17 September 2002. Bhatt was posted as Superintendent of Police in the State Intelligence Bureau during the said period and has sought these records earlier too in a letter dated May 4.
He had sought access to incoming and outgoing message registers of the SIB, movement diaries of all IPS officers posted in the SIB, alert messages sent out by the SIB, pink evenvelope reports sent out the chief minister by SIB and an internal document of SIB, authored by Bhatt and titled – "Godhra Incident of 27/02/2002 – An Intelligence Analysis" among other documents.
Bhatt's deposition is significant as the 1988 batch IPS officer had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court on April 14, accusing Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi of asking police personnel to go slow on rioters belonging to the Hindu community.
According to Bhatt's affidavit Modi categorically issued instructions that Hindus should be allowed to express their anger and Muslims should be taught a befitting lesson so that incidents like the burning of Sabarmati Express never happen again in Gujarat at the meeting.
He claimed that he was present in the meeting at CM’s residence late night on February 27, when these instructions were given by him to the stop brass of the state police.
He added that the chief minister’s “instructions” were communal and he prevailed on the state police officials to be indifferent to the rioters.
Bhatt said he had no faith in the apex court appointed SIT headed by former CBI director Dr RK Raghavan because, according to him, it is trying to hide the truth behind the riots in order to shield the chief minister and other powerful persons.
The riots in 2002 took place following the burning of the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express on February 27, 2002, in which 59 kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh were killed. The train burning incident sparked off the Gujarat riots in which over 1,000 people were killed.