Thursday, July 7, 2011

Should IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt be Examined Before the Trial Court Hearing the Gulbarg Society Massacre Case? Special Judge, B J Dhandha is to Decide

TNN | Jul 6, 2011, 12.44am IST

AHMEDABAD: Should IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt be examined before the trial court hearing the Gulbarg Society massacre case? Special judge, B J Dhandha is to decide this issue on Thursday.

The court on Tuesday completed hearing on the application filed by witness's counsel S M Vora, who sought examination of Bhatt on the basis of revelation in his affidavit filed before the Supreme Court and during his deposition made before the Nanavati-Mehta commission of inquiry.

Bhatt has claimed in his affidavit that he was present in the meeting that took place in the evening of February 27, 2002 at chief minister Narendra Modi's residence, where Modi asked top officials to allow the Hindus to express their anger against the Muslims during the post-Godhra riots. Bhatt has also accused the SC-appointed special investigation team (SIT) of shielding the chief minister in its investigation.

Witnesses' advocate Vora argued before the court that Bhatt seems to be in knowledge of the events, and on examining him, it could be known whether he knows anything about the Gulbarg massacre. He claimed that Bhatt has talked about a larger conspiracy, wherein the chief minister's role was also revealed.

This application was opposed by the defence lawyer Mitesh Amin, who argued that it was nothing but an effort to prolong the proceedings of the case by social activist Teesta Setalvad. Even the special public prosecutor, R C Kodekar also drew the court's attention to the fact that the same notary-advocate notified Bhatt's affidavit, who used to notify affidavits of riot victims allegedly facilitated by Setalvad.

Advocate Kodekar requested the court not to take any decision on this application at this stage, since the proceeding is pending before the Apex court. He also argued that deposition before the inquiry commission cannot be treated as evidence in the trial court. Advocate Vora vehemently objected to these arguments stating that since beginning, the SIT has been objecting on the ground that investigation is underway. Moreover, the prosecutor did not object to the defence lawyer's cross-examination of witnesses on the basis of their depositions before the inquiry commission, but when witnesses sought to bring evidence from inquiry commission, the prosecutor raised objection.

Sixty-nine persons were killed in Gulbarg Society, and 67 persons are being tried for the massacre.


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