Sanjiv Bhatt tell Supreme Court that Modi asked top cops not to go after rioters
Senior IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt has filed an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi asked police officers to be indifferent to rioters and calls for help from victims during the 2002 communal riots. Two months ago, in February, Tehelka had scooped this statement made before the Special Investigation Team (SIT).
Bhatt was the Deputy Commissioner of Internal Security in the State Intelligence Bureau when the riots took place. More than 1,200 people were killed across Gujarat in the riots.
Bhatt has submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court, stating that he was present at a closed-door, high-level meeting of senior police officers on 27 February 2002 in which Modi said, “The bandh call has already been given, and the party has decided to support it, as incidents like the burning of kar sevaksin Godhra cannot be tolerated.
Modi further impressed upon the gathering that for far too long the Gujarat police had been following the principle of balancing the actions against Hindus and Muslims while dealing with communal riots in Gujarat. Bhat quoted Modi as saying, “This time the situation warrants that the Muslims are taught a lesson to ensure that such incidents do not occur ever again. Modi said that emotions were running very high among the Hindus and it was imperative that they be allowed to “vent out their anger”, Bhatt claimed.
Bhatt has also asked for police security for him and his family. He claims that the Special Investigating Team (SIT) of the Gujarat police set up by the Supreme Court to look into the riots is working hand-in-glove with the Gujarat government. He has complained that the SIT leaked his testimony to the Gujarat government and that he fears for his security.
He said he had shared the information about the controversial meeting with the SIT, but the team neither took him seriously, nor did it follow up on other crucial leads that could have helped establish the role of Modi and other ministers in the riots.
In March 2010, when SIT inquiry officer AK Malhotra questioned Modi about who was present at the February 2002 meeting, Modi named seven bureaucrats and officers. Modi had categorically said that Sanjeev Bhatt was not present at the meeting.
Interestingly, not one of the other seven officers who were present at the meeting talked about Modi’s statement. During the questioning by the SIT, two of them claimed that they could not recall what happened at the meeting; four denied that Modi had made such a statement, while one said that he was not present at the meeting.
But BJP MLA Haren Pandya had disclosed before two judges in May 2002 that Modi asked police not to come in the way of a Hindu backlash. Pandya was murdered under mysterious circumstances three months after he made the disclosure.
Arpit Parashar is a Senior Correspondent with Tehelka.com