Gulbarg case: SIT continues questioning Sanjeev Bhatt
AHMEDABAD: The Special Investigation Team (SIT), probing some of the post-Godhra riot cases, recorded statement of IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt on Tuesday for the second consecutive day in connection with the Gulbarg Society riot case.
Bhatt was questioned for over six hours by investigating officer Himanshu Shukla at the agency’s office in Gandhinagar.
The 1988 batch IPS officer, who is currently posted as the principal of State Reserve Police (SRP) training centre in Junagadh district, was also interrogated for over five hours on Monday.
Bhatt’s statement was recorded with regard to the FIR in Gulbarg society case, where 69 persons, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jaffery, were killed during the post-Godhra riots.
Sources in the SIT said that Bhatt’s questioning was likely to continue even tomorrow as few details and queries were yet to be cleared.
Recording of Bhatt’s statement comes immediately after the Supreme Court asked SIT to consider whether further probe was required against Gujarat Chief Ministers Narendra Modi and 62 others in connection with the complaint filed by Jaffery’s wife Zakia. PTI
2002 RIOTS PROBE
Bhatt’s testimony against Modi cut short
Manoj Mitta | TNN
New Delhi: The first ever legal testimony recorded against chief minister Narendra Modi for his alleged complicity in the post-Godhra riots in 2002 was cut short on Tuesday when the witness, DIG Sanjiv Bhatt, was in the middle of his narrative on events preceding the murder of former Congress MP Ahesan Jafri at Gulbarg Society.
The three officers of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) recording Bhatt’s statement in Gandhinagar under Section 161 of the criminal procedure code broke off for lunch, according to sources, just when the witness had finished talking about the second of the meetings held by the chief minister with the police on February 28, 2002, the day after the Godhra train burning incident.
But after conferring with SIT’s legal adviser K G Menon for about an hour, the team did not pick up the threads of the narrative from where it had stopped before the break. Instead, the SIT functionaries — Y C Modi, A K Malhotra and Himanshu Shukla — wound up the examination for the day after grilling Bhatt on why he had never before made any of those allegations against the chief minister.
The whistleblower cop replied that, thanks to the SIT’s summons last week in connection with the Gulbarg case, he was for the first time in nine years under a legal obligation to disclose the inside information. He had been privy to this as an intelligence officer and as a participant in the meetings with Modi before and during the riots.
Asked about the public notice for evidence issued by the Nanavati Commission probing the riots, Bhatt said that since he was a serving officer, he did not think it would have been appropriate to file an affidavit before it unless he had been directed by his superiors to do so.
SIT grills DIG Sanjiv Bhatt over Gulberg Society carnage
GANDHINAGAR: The Gujarat Deputy Inspector General of Police, Sanjiv Bhatt, who is claimed to have spilled the beans on the Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, for his alleged controversial orders to the police on the eve of the 2002 communal riots, appeared before the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) in Gandhinagar on Monday.
Mr. Bhatt was summoned by the SIT on the directive of the Supreme Court which asked the investigating agency to ‘re-check' his earlier statement in view of the “contradictory” reports filed by it on the Gujarat riot inquiry. The SIT sources said Mr. Bhatt was questioned for over six hours on Monday and recording of his statement could continue on Tuesday and if necessary, would be summoned again later.
Zakia Jafri's charge
The 1988-IPS batch officer, who was posted as the Deputy Commissioner of Police in the State Intelligence Bureau during the 2002 riots, was questioned on the Gulberg Society massacre following the Court's directive to the SIT to look into the possibility of further investigating some of the riot-related cases, particularly the complaint of Zakia Jafri, the widow of the slain former Congress member of Parliament, Ehsan Jafri, who was among those killed in the Gulberg Society massacre. Mr. Bhatt is currently posted as the principal of the State Reserve Police Training Centre in Junagadh.
Mr. Bhatt is believed to be the only second police officer in the State to have revealed about the alleged “high-level meeting on law and order,” soon after the Godhra train carnage on February 27, 2002, summoned by the Chief Minister to discuss arrangements for the next day's “Gujarat Bandh,” the call for which was given by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and was supported by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. Mr. Modi, it was alleged, had asked the police officers to “allow” the Hindus “to vent their anger” against the Muslims for some time before actions should be taken to curb the riots.
The retired Additional Director General of Police, R. B. Sreekumar, had told the G. T. Nanavati-Akshay Mehta Judicial Inquiry Commission about Mr. Modi's “order” but his revelation did not carry much weight because he had told the commission that he was personally not present at the meeting and was “informed” about it by the then Director General of Police, K. Chakravarthi. When summoned by the Commission, Mr. Chakravarthi denied knowledge of any such order from the Chief Minister and denied he had ever told Mr. Sreekumar anything about the meeting.
Mr. Bhatt, however, had reportedly told the SIT officials during his previous appearance in February, 2010, that he was “present” at the meeting held at the official residence of Mr. Modi in which he had told the police officers that a “balanced approach” against the Hindus and Muslims “might not work this time” and that “it is necessary that the anger of the people is allowed to be vented.”
But Mr. Bhatt insisted that his statement to this effect was “off the record” and the SIT accordingly in its report to the Supreme Court maintained that the allegations against Mr. Modi “could not be substantiated” as none of the police officers present at the meeting were prepared to confirm the Chief Minister's any such directive. This prompted the Supreme Court to ask the SIT to look into the possibility of “further investigating” Ms. Jafri's complaints and the riot-related massacres.
IE Gujarat EDN
Gulberg: SIT questions IPS officer
Ahmedabad: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) investigating into the complaint filed by Zakia Jafri, widow of Congress leader Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the Gulberg Society massacre, recorded statements of IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt at its office at Gandhinagar on Monday.
Bhatt was questioned by SIT officer Himanshu Shukla for about five hours.
“We questioned him regarding the FIR lodged at Meghaninagar police station in 2004 along with a letter he had attached to it. We also questioned him on several other points but what he has told us needs to be thoroughly investigated further,” an SIT officer said.
Bhatt, a 1988 batch IPS officer, is presently posted as the principal of the State Reserve Police (SRP) Training Centre in Junagadh district. He was posted as DCP in State Intelligence Bureau in Gandhinagar during the 2002 riots.
Bhatt was one of the police officers present during the closed-door meeting at the Chief Minister’s residence on February 2002.
SIT sources said Bhatt had reportedly told the probe team earlier that he was called by the then Director General of Police K Chakravarthy to discuss intelligence failure at the Godhra Railway Station. Bhatt was also questioned about the CM’s meeting.
Bhatt confirmed he was questioned but refused to share details.
The Supreme Court had recently asked SIT to consider whether further probe was required into the complaint of Zakia Jafri, who wanted the role of Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 62 others examined.
The apex court, early this month, had also remarked that the SIT’s “inferences and evidence do not match with findings” and asked the panel to submit its report by April 25 on whether further investigations were required into Zakia’s complaint.
SIT to quiz whistle-blower cop again on Modi riot role
DIG Had Said That CM Wanted To Allow Hindus To Avenge Godhra
Manoj Mitta TNN
New Delhi: The flak it got from the Supreme Court for its self-contradictory report on the complaint alleging Narendra Modi’s complicity in the 2002 Gujarat riots has evoked an immediate reaction from the special investigation team (SIT). Within hours of the SC hearing on Tuesday, the SIT issued fresh summons to DIG Sanjiv Bhatt, who had blown the whistle on the meeting in which Modi allegedly told police officers to let Hindus vent their anger in Godhra’s wake.
The summons follows the SC’s observation, on the basis of feedback from am icus curiae Raju Ramachandran, that in the SIT’s May 2010 report ruling out an FIR against Modi and 62 others for the conspiracy behind the riots, the inferences did not match the findings. For, the SIT headed by former CBI director R K Raghavan saw no need for going beyond its preliminary inquiry even after it had recorded serious allegations against the Modi administration.
In fact, one of the highlights of the SIT report on the complaint lodged by Zakia Jafri, widow of a former Congress MP killed in the Gulbarg massacre, was a statement recorded from Bhatt. Bhatt’s fresh statement due on March 21, will, for the first time, be under a provision that can be invoked only when there is an FIR. But having given its finding against registration of an FIR on Jafri’s complaint, the SIT’s summons said that his statement would be recorded in connection with “further investigation” in Gulbarg case. This could mean that the SIT would limit Bhatt’s statement under Section 161 of CrPC to the messages he sent to Modi’s office on February 28, 2002 before and after the Gulbarg massacre.
It remains to be seen whether the SIT will allow Bhatt to testify on larger issues. For, during the preliminary probe on Jafri’s complaint, Bhatt was the only cop who recalled the February 27 meeting where Modi allegedly said that Hindu rioters be allowed to avenge Godhra.
On receiving the summons on Wednesday, Bhatt, currently on leave, sent a note saying he be provided a copy of his earlier statement on Jafri’s complaint. That he is skeptical about the SIT’s intentions is evident from a letter he wrote on February 14 to Gujarat home secretary Balwant Singh, shortly after Tehelka published extracts of his testimony against Modi. “As discussed with you... I had very good reasons to believe that my testimony before the SIT... has been leaked to the higher echelons of the Government of Gujarat.” Bhatt wrote to him seeking security beef-up. He wrote again to complain that, far from being provided greater security, even the routine cover had been withdrawn