A Gujarat cadre IAS officer, Pradip Sharma, who is in jail for an alleged land scam, has attempted to reveal Chief Minister Narendra Modi's alleged anti-minority stance during the 2002 communal riots in the State.
In a cryptic note addressed to the chairman of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), R.K. Raghavan, Mr. Sharma claimed that during the riots, when he was posted as the municipal commissioner of Jamnagar, he received a call from the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) asking him to “prevail upon” his elder brother Kuldip, a senior IPS officer, to “abstain from taking any proactive measures in favour of the minorities” during the riots.
Mr. Sharma offered to “reveal the exact nature of the conversation and the name of the officer in the CMO who called him up” if he was allowed to depose before the SIT.
Mr. Kuldip was holding the post of Inspector-General of police, Ahmedabad range, when the riots broke out.
He was later denied promotion as State Director-General of Police and was dumped in the Gujarat Sheep and Wool Development Corporation as its managing director, a post usually reserved for a very junior level IAS officer.
Mr. Sharma was arrested in a case filed by the State CID (Crime) alleging that he gave lands to some shop-owners, violating government rules of entitlement, when he was the district collector of Kutch in 2001.
He wrote the note to Mr. Raghavan from his jail in Bhuj, where he is currently lodged.
The apparent reason for Mr. Sharma maintaining a silence was that Mr. Kuldip, until last week, was serving under the Modi dispensation. Earlier this month, the Central Administrative Tribunal rejected the downgrading of Mr. Kuldip's Annual Confidential Record prepared by the State government apparently to deny him the promotion. This enabled him to accept an offer of deputation to the Central government. He took over charge in Delhi last week despite the Gujarat government's alleged attempts to stall his deputation.
Mr. Sharma's note comes on the heels of senior IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt filing an affidavit in the Supreme Court last week claiming that he was present at a meeting at the Chief Minister's residence on the night of February 27, 2002, and was witness to Mr. Modi issuing a “directive” to top police officers to “allow Hindus to vent their anger” and “teach Muslims a lesson” after the Godhra train carnage.