Documents sent to SIT chief Raghavan to prove "police laxity" during 2002 riots
The suspended Gujarat IPS officer, Sanjiv Bhatt, has dashed off yet another letter to R.K. Raghavan, chairman of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team probing the post-Godhra carnage of 2002, asking him to record his statement before a magistrate.
With his latest letter signed on Saturday, Mr. Bhatt annexed official documents to drive home his point about police laxity and delay by the political leadership to deploy the Army to control violence during the crucial days.
Mr. Bhatt said he was still awaiting Mr. Raghavan's response on recording his statement before a magistrate under Sections 164 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code to make it more authentic and irreversible.
He claimed that for inexplicable reasons, the Ahmedabad police were “exceptionally lax” in making preventive arrests on the night of February 27, 2002, though violence had broken out in Ahmedabad and several other parts of the State in the aftermath of the Godhra train carnage and the “Gujarat bandh” call given by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad for the next day, giving rise to apprehension of large-scale violence.
Mr. Bhatt also produced a copy of a letter written on February 27 by the then Director-General of Police, K. Chakravarthi, to the State Additional Home Secretary requesting him to take up with the Union Home Ministry the movement of police forces from other States for deployment in Gujarat. In his letter, Mr. Chakravarthi had pointed out that the available State reserve police force had already been deployed in full strength, but “in order to cope with the emerging law and order situation” following the VHP bandh call, the Home Ministry “may kindly be moved to make available 10 companies of the Rapid Action Force” to assist the police immediately. He had also pointed out that the RAF available in the State had already been deployed in the affected areas, including Godhra, Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat.
Mr. Bhatt alleged that most of the police and the administrative units in the State delayed imposition of curfew. The police action in the first 48 hours in most of the affected areas was not only “grossly inadequate” but “overtly iniquitous.” Requisition and effective deployment of the Army was “irreparably delayed.” Mr. Bhatt, who in his earlier letters to Mr. Raghavan had also accused SIT of trying to “shield” some political leaders, including Chief Minister Narendra Modi, said he was submitting copies of the documents to ensure that the crucial evidence were not “disregarded or concealed” by SIT to “screen powerful and influential offenders from legal punishment.”