The controversial Gujarat cadre IPS officer, Sanjiv Bhatt, told the G.T. Nanavati-Akshay Mehta judicial inquiry commission on Monday that Chief Minister Narendra Modi had not only “directed” top police officers “to allow Hindus to vent their anger,” but also did not issue any “specific instruction” to quell the riots when informed of the mob attack on the Gulberg Society on the “Gujarat bandh” day.
Deposing before the commission probing the Godhra train carnage and post-Godhra communal riots in 2002, Mr. Bhatt, who filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court last month against Mr. Modi, said he was “personally” present at the controversial meeting at the Chief Minister's residence on the night of February 27, 2002. He claimed that he could name witnesses who could testify to his presence in addition to the few names he had already mentioned in his affidavit. However, he could give the names only when asked by the Supreme Court.
Mr. Bhatt said that apart from the meeting on the night of February 27, the Godhra train carnage day, Mr. Modi had called two meetings the next day also, one in the forenoon and again in the late afternoon. He had attended both the meetings in the company of his superior, Additional Director-General of Police and chief of the State Intelligence Bureau G.C. Raigar. He claimed that by the time the second meeting was held, the intelligence department had all the information about the tense situation in Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad as he was receiving “real-time information” about the mob build-up there.
The IPS officer claimed that at the meeting he had personally informed the Chief Minister of the build-up in Gulberg Society, the threat to residents there, including the former Congress MP, Ehsan Jafferey, and the “complete police inaction” across the city. But Mr. Modi did not give “any instruction for measures to protect the Gulberg Society,” he claimed. Mr. Bhatt said when he informed Mr. Modi of the situation in Gulberg, Director-General of Police K. Chakravarthi was present.
Mr. Bhatt, however, told the commission that the intelligence wing, of which he was the deputy commissioner then, had no “substantial information” till late that evening about the situation in Naroda and the massacre in the Naroda-Patiya locality.
He claimed that despite having information about the precarious situation in Gulberg Society, the police did not make any move to bring it under control and the violence “continued unabated” until the CRPF personnel arrived there.