India

Godhra Riots Records Destroyed in 2007: Gujarat Govt

BeyondHeadlines News Desk

Ahmedabad: After accusations were rife on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s involvement in the Godhra communal riots, the state govt in its own submission revealed that telephone call records, registers of officers’ movement and vehicle log books of the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB) during the tumultuous period of the riots in 2002 were destroyed in 2007.

S B Vakil, government counsel in the Nanavati Commission, probing the post-Godhra riots, told the media after the questioning of IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt that as per government rules the records are destroyed after five years.

“As per general government rules the telephone call records, vehicle log book and the officer’s movement diary are destroyed after a certain period,” Vakil said.

He said as far as the SIB records for 2002 (when Sabarmati Express train was set afire at Godhra and subsequent riots took place) were concerned, they were destroyed in 2007.

“Bhatt knows that the records are not available and despite that he is asking for them,” Vakil noted.

Bhatt had given an application to the commission in May, seeking direction to the government and SIB to provide him records and documents pertaining to 2002 riots period.

The government counsel said that Bhatt, who was DCP (SIB) in 2002, knows the rule that such records are destroyed after a certain period. In spite of that he is asking for such records through various direct and indirect representations.

Earlier, there were heated arguments between Bhatt, who has made serious allegations against Chief Minister Narendra Modi in connection with the riots, and Vakil during the senior IPS officer’s questioning before the two-member probe panel.

During the proceedings at the commission, Vakil claimed that Bhatt had “crossed his limits” when he filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court.

Bhatt was summoned for questioning by the commission following his affidavit in the apex court where he had alleged that Modi had instructed officers to allow Hindus “to vent their anger” during the clashes, which broke out after the torching of Sabarmati Express, and he wanted Muslims to be “taught a lesson.”

During today’s questioning, Vakil asked Bhatt, posted as DCP with SIB during the post-Godhra riots, to name other DCPs who were on duty in the city on February 27, 2002 (the day of the Godhra train carnage).

To this, Bhatt said answer was already in the records with the government. Bhatt repeatedly gave similar answers to other questions posed by the government counsel.

This sparked a heated exchange of words between the two with Bhatt shouting at Vakil and saying “do not cross the limit”.

Vakil shot back, saying “Right from the day you filed the affidavit (in the Supreme Court) you crossed your limit.”

He also complained to the Commission that the IPS officer was not answering questions properly to which the panel said it was his right to reply the way he wants. Bhatt’s questioning will continue on July 9.

(With Inputs from PTI)

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