Retired Gujarat ADGP files affidavit before Nanavati panel

The retired Gujarat Additional Director-General of Police R. B. Shreekumar has claimed that the then Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Ashok Narayan told him that Chief Minister Narendra Modi gave an “oral order” for immediate release of the Hindus arrested in connection with the 2002 communal riots.

Mr. Shreekumar on Thursday filed yet another affidavit, his ninth so far, before the G. T. Nanavati – Akshay Mehta Judicial Enquiry Commission, probing the Godhra train carnage and the post-Godhra communal riots. He appended the transcript of a taped version of his purported interaction with Mr. Narayan in an “informal meeting” on August 20, 2004.

Mr. Shreekumar said he had sought a meeting with Mr. Narayan only to “refresh my memory” about his interaction and interface with the Home Department officials during his tenure as the chief of the State Intelligence Branch from April 9, 2002 to September 19 the same year. He thought of refreshing his memory through his meeting with Mr. Narayan because he was due to appear for cross-examination before the Commission on August 30, 2004.

According to the retired ADGP, during the course of the conversation when he was complaining about the subversion of the criminal justice system during the riots that led to numerous complaints and petitions in various courts right up to the Supreme Court, Mr. Narayan told him that the Chief Minister had asked for the release of the Hindus arrested in riot cases.

Claiming that Mr. Narayan's “revelation” only corroborated his earlier narration about “numerous illegal verbal orders given by the Chief Minister” and other political leaders, as he had mentioned in his earlier affidavits, Mr. Shreekumar said he suggested to the ACS (Home) then that he should report the matter to the Commission. But Mr. Narayan disagreed, stating that there was no way to prove that Mr. Modi had issued any such order.

Following is the exchanges on the relevant issue:

RBS (R. B. Shreekumar): One thing was that they have let off Hindus arrested under POTA or something. In short time they were released. Five/six Hindus were released within hours of their arrest.

AN (Ashok Narayan): CM said that. (means CM ordered it).

RBS: If CM said that you should testify it (to the Commission), that is my humble submission.

AN: CM may say where have he said that?

RBS: He may not admit that. That is word against word.

AN: It is very difficult to prove.

RBS: Can be proved in circumstantial way.

AN: How it be? How can I prove this?

RBS: It is not your duty to prove this. ACS should tell the truth and not worry about support of his truthful statement. That is what exactly happened.

AN: How can I depose also? What can I depose…..? Suppose the Vakils (lawyers) may ask how do you say the CM gave that sort of instruction? On what basis I can say that?

Mr. Shreekumar claimed even after their conversation was over, Mr. Narayan had confirmed it to him that his earlier intelligence report — about measures for improving the criminal justice systems, appointments of the special public prosecutors, many of whom were found to be the Vishwa Hindu Parishad activists or its sympathisers — for the trial of the riot cases and such other measures was “ridiculed at” by the Chief Minister with the comment that his suggestions “deserved to be put in the waste paper basket.”