AHMEDABAD: Five years after it gave a
clean chit to the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi
in the 2002 post-Godhra riots, the report of the commission headed by Justice (retd) GT Nanavati, which probed the communal violence, was tabled in the state assembly on Wednesday.
The report also gives a clean chit to ministers and officials of the then Gujarat government for the riots, which claimed the lives of 1,025 people across the state.
The commission has rejected the accounts of three "whistleblower" IPS officers – Sanjiv Bhatt, Rahul Sharma and R B Sreekumar- who alleged involvement of then state government in 2002 post-Godhra riots.
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Sanjiv Bhatt lying about CM meeting: Probe report
Dismissed IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who had in 2011 filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court implicating the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi for alleged involvement in the 2002 communal violence, was lying and made up the story of him attending a meeting at the CM's residence on February 27. This is the conclusion of the Nanavati Commission. The commission also said that Bhatt used a false document, a fax message, to support his presence at the meeting.
"On consideration of evidence, it clearly appears that Bhatt is not telling the truth with regards to what happened in the meeting held on February 27, 2002, at the CM's residence. Claims made by him of being present in the meeting appear to be false," stated the second part of the report of the Commission of Inquiry' by Justice G T Nanavati and Justice Akshay Mehta.
"…Obviously, his version about what was discussed and what was stated by the CM and others in that meeting is a story now made out by him and deserves to be discarded as false," the report stated.
Bhatt, a 1988-batch IPS officer, who was deputy commissioner, intelligence, in the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB) in 2002, had stated on affidavit in the SC that he had attended the February 27 meeting at the CM's residence in Gandhinagar. He said Modi had instructed Gujarat Police and the state administration to refrain from resorting to strict action and to permit the majority community to vent their anger at the minority community'.
In 2015, Bhatt was dismissed from police service on grounds of unauthorized absence'. He has now been in jail for more than a year, after being given a life sentence in a 1990 Jamnagar custodial death case and being denied bail in a 1996 drug planting case.
Significantly, the commission said it found that the copy of a fax message, purportedly signed and sent by Bhatt on February 27, to support his claim of attending the meeting, was actually sent on March 2, 2002, by P P Upadhyay, about an incident at Pandarva in Panchmahal.
The commission relied on statements and affidavits of senior IPS officers, such as the then Gujarat DGP K Chakravarthi, home secretary K Nityanandam, secretary to CM Anil Mukim and even Narendra Modi, to refute Sanjiv Bhatt's claims of attending the CM meeting. Bhatt had claimed that he reached the CM's residence for the meeting by accompanying Chakravarthi in his car.
The commission stated there was no reason for Chakravarthi to direct anyone from the IB to accompany him to the meeting of top police officers.
Panel junks Rahul Sharma's call details info
The Nanavati inquiry commission refused to trust call details supplied by former IPS officer Rahul Sharma, on the grounds that he could not furnish the CDs on which the data was originally stored.
The call details gathered by Sharma had stirred up a hornet's nest because collusion between rioters and government officials and politicians was alleged after analysis of this data. Sharma, who got the CDs from the private telecom companies in 2002, copied the data on to his personal computer and said he sent the original CDs to crime branch. He provided the data to the commission, but not via the original CDs. The whereabouts of the original CDs are not known.
The commission's refusal to accept call details as evidence was based on authenticity of the data. In the absence of the original CDs and non-production of the original data which he copied on his computer from the original CDs, the data contained in the CDs produced before the commission cannot be accepted as reliable and correct, held the commission The inquiry commission's conclusion that Sharma's CDs were not reliable was also based on the testimony of former state home minister Gordhan Zadaphia, who said that he had not made certain phone calls which the analysis of data from Sharma's CDs reflected.
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