IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt on Tuesday requested the Nanavati Commission to defer his deposition till he gets legal support, alleging that he was being subjected to a “slander campaign” by the Gujarat government.
The panel consisting of Justices G.T. Nanavati and Akshay Mehta, however, rejected Mr. Bhatt’s application saying it cannot defer the proceedings midway.
The Commission also told the State government that questions it had posed before Mr. Bhatt on Monday, with regard to allegations of atrocity and misuse of TADA against him when he was posted in Jamnagar in 1990, was not concerned with purpose for which the IPS officer was called.
When the proceedings began on Tuesday, Mr. Bhatt objected to the line of questioning and alleged that “it was a slander campaign against me for filing affidavit in the Supreme Court.”
Mr. Bhatt, in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court last month, had claimed that he was present in the meeting called by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on the night of February 27, 2002, where Mr. Modi instructed his officers to allow Hindus “to vent out their anger” during the clashes and he wanted Muslims to be “taught a lesson”.
Mr. Bhatt further alleged the cross-examination by the State government counsel S.B. Vakil was in entirely different directions dealing with scandalous details based on half truth.
And for this purpose, Mr. Bhatt has sought time from the Commission to get legal advice as he would not be in a position to reply to questions of the state government.
Though the Commission rejected Mr. Bhatt’s application, it asked the State government to prepare a list of cases during Mr. Bhatt’s previous postings, on which they would like to ask questions about.
Once the list would be provided, Mr. Bhatt would prepare himself for questioning to be held after in couple of days.
The State government’s counsel, however, maintained Mr. Bhatt’s deposition were not credible and he was capable of concocting things to any extent to prove his point in accusing another person.
While arguing on his application that he had filed on May 16 seeking direction from the Commission, to various agencies, to provide him with information from State Control Room (SCR) that he had requested for, Mr. Bhatt claimed the State government had not provided the panel with all the relevant data/records regarding the 2002 riots.
Mr. Bhatt had filed the application when he had deposed for the first time before the panel seeking direction for the State DGP, ADGP State Intelligence Bureau (SIB) and the Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), to provide him with records from the SCR for period of February 27, 2002 to September 17, 2002.
The IPS officer alleged only 5 per cent of the data from the SCR (during the 2002 riots) was provided to the Commission. He further said only those records which would show government in good light were given to the panel.
With regard to affidavits of various police officers before the Commissions, Mr. Bhatt claimed the officers were made to depose by the government about what was convenient to them.
Mr. Bhatt had also alleged there have been attempts to destroy the SCR records. He said if all the records are brought before the Commission, truth about what happened and why it happened during 2002 riots would be revealed.
The Commission was of the opinion that Mr. Bhatt had asked for too large amount of data. So it asked the officer to amend his application and ask for specific records for particular dates to prove his point.
Mr. Bhatt’s deposition is likely to continue Wednesday.