Fifty-five year old Naresh Harmanbhai Brahmbhatt is in financial distress. In May 2011, the head constable had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court lending support to suspended Gujarat cop Sanjiv Bhatt's claim that he was present at the February 27, 2002 meeting where Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi issued instructions to police officers to allow revenge attacks on Muslims post the Godhra carnage.
Mr. Brahmbhatt, who was dismissed from his job for praising Mr. Bhatt, said he has been unemployed since then and asked if speaking the truth was a crime in Gujarat. He said though he was financially broke and badly needed a job, he stood by everything he stated in the affidavit, and was willing to testify before the Special Investigation Team probing the role of Mr. Modi, among others, in the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom. “If they call me, I will go and testify but they have not called me,” he said.
In his affidavit, Mr. Brahmbhatt said during the period of the riots he was posted at the Memnagar police chowki, which was within 200 metres from Mr. Bhatt's residence.
On the night of February 27, 2002, “sometime between 9.30 p.m. and 10 p.m.”, he received a call from the Control Room saying that the Director General of Police wanted to know if Mr. Bhatt had left for the Gandhinagar meeting. He said the Control Room was unable to contact Mr. Bhatt as he was not answering his mobile phone and his residence telephone was busy. So Mr. Brahmbhatt rushed to Mr. Bhatt's home where his wife informed him that he had left for the meeting “ten minutes ago”.
Mr. Brahmbhatt, who appended to the affidavit a copy of the Daily Note Book containing his duty details, said: “Thus, on instructions from the State Control Room, I immediately went to the residence of Sanjeev Bhatt. On reaching his residence, I was informed by Mrs. Bhatt that Mr. Bhatt had already left for the meeting ten minutes ago. I was also informed that the State Control Room had also called up a few minutes before my arrival and had inquired whether Mr. Bhatt had left for the meeting or not. I was told that the State Control Room had already been informed about the departure of Mr. Bhatt.”
“I say and submit that I did not receive any phone call from the State Control Room thereafter. I say that I had noted the details regarding my duty hours of each date in my Daily Note Book. These Daily Note Books are signed, stamped and issued by the police station. The entry in my Daily Note Book on February 27, 2002 shows my presence at Memnagar Police Chowki on the day.”
Mr. Brahmbhatt, who was posted in Kutchh-Bhuj from January 2006, said he came to know about the April 2011 affidavit filed by Mr. Bhatt in the Supreme Court and praised him in the local daily, Kutchh Uday. He said he had asked other police officers to show similar courage and speak out the truth. The news report was published on April 23, 2011. On May 4, he was dismissed.
The SIT has not examined Mr. Brahmbhatt so far. Nor has it examined former BBC correspondent Shubhranshu Choudhary who filed an affidavit saying he was with Mr. Bhatt at about 9.30 p.m. at his Ahmedabad home on February 27, 2002. Mr. Choudhary said Mr. Bhatt cut short the interview saying he had to go for a late night meeting at Mr. Modi's residence in Gandhinagar.