Monday, August 1, 2011

Rebel Cop Gives SC Emails to Show How SIT ‘Leaked’ Probe Details to Gujarat Govt Officer

Indian Express 30JUL2011
Express news service

New Delhi, Ahmedabad: IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt, who has accused Chief Minister Narendra Modi of misusing official machinery during the 2002 post-Godhra riots, has told the Supreme Court he found two "unusual" emails from the Special Investigation Team probing the riots cases in the personal mail account of Gujarat Additional Advocate General Tushar Mehta.

In a petition to the Supreme Court, Bhatt has said he chanced upon the mails when he accessed Mehta's email account( to check travel and accommodation reservations before a joint family holiday to Goa in September 2009, on the law officer's request. Bhatt has said that he and Mehta have been family friends for a long time.

Bhatt states that the mails were received from the address — "the official email identity of the SIT".

"On studying the said two emails it was very apparent to the petitioner that someone from within the SIT was leaking very sensitive and confidential details pertaining to the ongoing investigations being conducted by the SIT," Bhatt says in his petition.

These allegations gain significance as the SIT, set up by the Supreme Court, was at the time investigating Modi, the then minister of state (home) Amit Shah and several in the top echelons of the Gujarat Police over "misusing state machinery" against Muslims during the riots.

"Tushar Mehta, the Additional Advocate General of Gujarat happens to be a very close family friend of the petitioner (Bhatt) for over the last two decades. The families of the petitioner and that of Tushar Mehta have been regularly vacationing together," says Bhatt's petition.

In May-June 2010, Bhatt says, he entered Mehta's account, again, to check travel details of another family holiday together. "The petitioner's family and the family of Tushar Mehta vacationed in the USA, Canada and Alaska in May-June 2010. The petitioner was again required to access email account of Tushar Mehta on several occasions during the period from February 2010 to June 2010 for the purpose of making and confirming travel-related arrangements," he said.

The mails, the petition alleges, show an "unholy nexus and illegal complicity" between the high functionaries of the state, including Modi, Shah and Mehta, in "shielding highly-placed persons from prosecution". Copies of all the emails have been annexed with the petition.

Bhatt recounts that in November 2009, shortly after a confidential call from the SIT office asking him to be present there, he was approached by Amit Shah.

"The petitioner was approached by Amit Shah, the then Minister of Home Department, and was sought to be briefed at the office of the Additional Advocate General of Gujarat, Tushar Mehta, prior to the scheduled interaction with the SIT," he said.

Bhatt says he informed SIT member A K Malhotra about the incident and claims to have produced documentary evidence "to establish that someone from within the SIT was leaking and sharing highly sensitive and confidential information relating to the ongoing investigations with the Additional Advocate General of Gujarat".

Bhatt's petition was concerning his appeal for a CBI inquiry into a criminal case filed against him by a Gujarat Police constable in Ahmedabad. The constable, K D Pant, has alleged that Bhatt pressured him to sign an affidavit testifying that he participated in a high-level meeting after the Godhra carnage in which the Chief Minister was present and allegedly made anti-Muslim comments.

Issuing notice, a bench of Justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha directed the Gujarat government and the Centre to file their replies on Bhatt's plea by August 8, the next date of hearing.

Bhatt's statements come at a time when the SIT's position is at an all-time low with the court even refusing to give a copy of amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran's "elaborate" report on the Gulberg Society case to it on Thursday.


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