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Summon Sanjiv Bhatt as witness, Manch urges Nanavati panel

Manas Dasgupta


His deposition will make a lot of difference: Sinha

Former ADGP seeks security cover for Bhatt and family


AHMEDABAD: Jan Sangharsh Manch advocate Mukul Sinha fighting the cases of the 2002 communal riot victims in Gujarat before the G. T. Nanavati-Akshay Mehta Judicial Inquiry Commission, on Tuesday requested the commission to summon senior IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt as a witness for cross-examination.

In a related development, the retired Additional Director-General of Police, R.B. Shreekumar, requested the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team to provide Mr. Bhatt and his immediate family members adequate security in view of a possible threat to his life from fundamentalist Hindu organisations following his affidavit in the apex court.

Dr. Sinha told mediapersons that he had moved an application before the Nanavati-Mehta commission demanding that Mr. Bhatt be called as a witness for cross-examination, particularly by the government pleader to ascertain the veracity in his assertion that he was present at the meeting convened by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi at his residence on the night of February 27, 2002, where he purportedly issued the controversial “direction” to the police to “allow the Hindus to vent their anger.”

Dr. Sinha said that since senior police officials like the then Director-General of Police, K. Chakravarthi, had refuted Mr. Bhatt's claim, it was now up to the State government to examine Mr. Bhatt “to determine the truthfulness of the witness.” His deposition could make a lot of difference to the outcome of the inquiry into the Godhra train carnage and the post-Godhra communal riots in the State, Dr. Sinha said. “The exercise should be taken up urgently since the allegations made by Mr. Bhatt, even if it is prima facie sustained, would amount to grave indictment of the highest executive of the State.”

Letters in vain

Mr. Shreekumar, in a letter to SIT chairman R.K. Raghavan, requesting adequate security cover for Mr. Bhatt and his immediate family members, referred to his (Mr. Bhatt's) letters to the Additional Chief Secretary (Home), Balwant Singh, repeatedly seeking security cover, but which so far had fallen on deaf ears.

“The activists of the Sangh Parivar and overzealous fans of Mr. Modi are likely to nurture severe ill-will and hatred against Mr. Bhatt for revealing information adversely affecting the image of the Chief Minister which would even result in the initiation of criminal prosecution against him,” Mr. Shreekumar wrote in his letter. “So I deeply feel that Mr. Bhatt and his family should be provided with adequate and effective security cover after proper and comprehensive threat assessment urgently,” he added.

He reminded Mr. Raghavan that the SIT was also duty-bound to provide security to all its key witnesses under an order from the Supreme Court.

Mr. Bhatt, in his three letters to Mr. Balwant Singh, had pointed out that not only was no security cover provided to him (despite the State Intelligence Bureau and the Ahmedabad Police recommending security cover equivalent to or above “Y category”), even the “makeshift” security (of five armed guards) he managed for himself being the principal of the SRP Training College was being withdrawn.

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