Shreekumar issues “citizens' appeal” sent to SIT chief R.K. Raghavan by Sanjiv Bhatt

At least two Gujarat cadre IPS officers have decried the reported move by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) to file a closure report on the complaints by Zakia Jafri, wife of the slain former Congress member of Parliament, Ehsan Jafri, against Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 62 others.

The former Additional Director-General of Police, R.B. Shreekumar, issued a “citizens' appeal” — sent to SIT chairman R.K. Raghavan by suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, with his personal endorsement of its contents — against the SIT's reported move.

'Unethical'

Describing as “disappointingly unethical and clever strategy,” the SIT's reported move to file “C” summary to the case in the magisterial court, which, under the Gujarat Police Manual, meant the complaint to be “false,” Mr. Shreekumar said it would permanently close any prospect of re-investigation or re-evaluation of the evidences collected in connection with the case and alleged that right from the beginning Mr. Raghavan and his team were working to “protect” the Chief Minister and other accused in the case.

Stating that the move was contrived at the advice of a former legal adviser to the Central Bureau of Investigation, Mr. Shreekumar wondered why the SIT considered its chosen legal adviser superior to the Supreme Court-appointed amicus curiae in the case, Raju Ramachandran, who had reportedly recommended action against Mr. Modi and others under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.

Affidavits quoted

Quoting from his affidavits filed before the G.T. Nanavati-Akshay Mehta Judicial Inquiry Commission probing the Godhra train carnage and the post-Godhra communal riots in the State — copies of which were also submitted to the SIT — Mr. Shreekumar said he had in the past received a “lot of information” about the SIT remaining “un-empathetic and insincere” to the interests of the riot victims in order to give clean chit to Mr. Modi and others. “This trend of the SIT was conspicuous from February 2009,” a few months after the SIT was constituted in April 2008, he alleged.

Mr. Shreekumar said many “frustrated riot victims in the State perceived the SIT as the B-Team of the Gujarat Police, “religiously travelling on the roadmap provided by the State administration.”

The IPS officer recalled a statement he made in May 2008, soon after his first meeting with Mr. Raghavan and some other SIT members, and that despite his expressing apprehension that the SIT was avoiding collection of incriminating documents against Mr. Modi and others, he was not called as witness in the case.

“I earnestly hope that lively citizens and erudite legal luminaries” would consider actions against the SIT's move to provide justice to the riot victims, the appeal said.