A special court, hearing the 2002 Naroda Patiya riot case, on Wednesday directed the special investigation team (SIT) to further probe the role of four senior police officers in the “larger interest of justice”, based on the phone call records provided by the victims.
Some of the victims in the case, in which 95 people were killed on February 28, 2002, during the post-Godhra riots, had last week sought further investigation in the matter and wanted four top-level police officers to be included as accused, contending that they were part of a conspiracy which led to inaction by police during the riots.
Special Judge Jyotsna Yagnik disposed of the victim’s application after the investigating officer of the case, Himanshu Shukla, belonging to the SIT, filed a reply stating that further investigation was on and the final report, as directed by the Supreme Court, would be filed in a magisterial court that had taken cognisance of the crime in 2002.
Following this assurance by the SIT, victim’s advocate Y B Sheikh did not press the demands made in their application.
Directing the SIT to look into the clues provided by the victims and make further investigation if not done so far, the court said, “It was important to look into the allegations in the larger interest of justice”.
Special public prosecutor Akhil Desai submitted that the SIT would further investigate the phone call details of certain officers.
He said that the SIT would not hesitate to look into the clues provided by the victims and was willing to examine the matter afresh if so required.
During the course of hearing, Mr. Sheikh conveyed to the court that since the SIT was going to further probe the allegation of a larger conspiracy, based on the phone call records of the cops and the other accused, he would not press for the other demands in the plea at this point of time.
Given the fact that the SIT was ready to investigate at appropriate time on the lines of this application, the purpose of the victims would be served, he said.
In their application, the victims had sought including as accused in the case the then Naroda Inspector K K Mysorewala, DCP (Zone IV) P B Gondia, JCP (sector 2) M K Tandon (now retired) and Police Commissioner P C Pande (who retired as DGP).
The victims had alleged that these police officers were vital part of the criminal conspiracy which they had jointly hatched with some of the accused in the case including a former minister and MLA from Naroda and some local BJP leaders.
“Criminal conspiracy and serious dereliction of duty need to be probed and all the real accused be brought to book to meet the ends of justice,” the victim’s application filed in the court said.
The victims have also alleged that as the case has been pending in the Supreme Court since May 2002, senior officers of Gujarat Police have destroyed records of police control room.
They have also questioned the casual manner in which the SIT has accepted that police control room records were destroyed and has chosen to remain silent on that aspect without further probing destruction of evidence.