The suspended Gujarat cadre IPS officer, Sanjiv Bhatt, on Friday contradicted Chief Minister Narendra Modi's claim that he was not aware of the developments in the Gulberg Society on February 28, 2002, till about the attack was over. The former Congress member of the Lok Sabha, Ehsan Jafri, was among the 69 who lost their lives in the post-Godhra massacre.
Commenting on the alleged “leakage” of Mr. Modi's statement before the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team in March 2010, Mr. Bhatt, who was then the deputy commissioner of the State Intelligence Branch (SIB), claimed he himself had two meetings with the Chief Minister the same day and informed him about the developments in Gulberg Society, including the impending threat to Jafri's life.
“The devious fraudulence and chicanery resorted to in the answering of questions put to him by the SIT as well as the inadequacy of the questioning itself become evident,” Mr. Bhatt said in a letter to SIT chairman R.K. Raghavan.
Mr. Bhatt said that during his second meeting with Mr. Modi on that day, when the murderous mob had already gheraoed the Gulberg Society, he was asked by Mr. Modi to find out if in the past Mr. Jafri had ever opened fire from his private arms. He said he was surprised at the suggestion, but after coming out of the meeting, other police officers present there informed him that Mr. Jafri had opened fire on the mob, following which the Hindu activists attacked his house.
This only proved that Mr. Modi was well aware of the developments even before the attack, but instead of asking the police to save the lives and property of the minorities residing in the society, he was working out a defence for the mob action to derive political mileage out of it, Mr. Bhatt alleged.
Mr. Bhatt also referred to his deposition before the G.T. Nanavati-Akshay Mehta judicial inquiry commission to claim that Mr. Modi was deliberately giving misleading answers to the questions put to him by the SIT, but unfortunately no attempt was made by the investigating officer to contradict him with the evidence available at his disposal, he said.