Former Gujarat additional director general of police R.B. Sreekumar has urged the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team to provide security to senior police officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who has filed an affidavit implicating Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots.
In a letter addressed to SIT chief R.K. Raghavan, with copies to the registrar general of the apex court, the chairman of the NHRC and the director general of Gujarat Police, Sreekumar has said that Bhatt’s affidavit contains vital evidence incriminating and damaging to Modi in relation to the meeting chaired by him on Feb 27, 2002 evening in which instructions violative of the letter, spirit and ethos of the Constitution were reportedly given.
Bhatt is currently DIG at the state Reserve Police Training College in Junagadh. Earlier, a former state minister, Haren Pandya, who submitted similar information to the Citizens Tribunal, headed by Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, had been assassinated in suspicious circumstances. “It is learnt that police protection provided to Bhatt has been withdrawn recently, without assigning any reason. He and his family should be provided with adequate and effective security cover, after proper and comprehensive threat assessment urgently,” the letter states.
Sreekumar has stated that Bhatt, who served the State Intelligence Bureau, during his tenure as Additional Director General of Police, (ADGP) Intelligence from April 9, 2002 to Sep 18, 2002 was quite successful in collecting many advance intelligence inputs on the communal situation in those disturbed days in Gujarat, and disseminating these to concerned persons.
“I had even appended copies of 12 such reports in my First Affidavit to the Justice Nanavati judicial inquiry commission on July 15, 2002, and 2 in my Second Affidavit to the Commission on Oct 6, 2004. Bhatt was transferred untimely out of the Intelligence Bureau on Sep 18, 2002 along with me, reportedly for submitting a report, to the state government, on a controversial speech with communal overtones delivered by Modi in Mehsana district, during his Gaurav Yatra in the first week of September 2002,” it states.
Sreekumar, in his letter, has expressed the apprehension that activists of the Sangh Parivar and over-zealous fans of Modi are likely to nurture severe ill-will and hatred against the IPS officer for revealing information adversely affecting the chief minister’s image and therefore the urgent need for security for Bhatt and his family.
Bhatt, in his affidavit, says that Modi, in his Feb 27, 2002 meeting after the Godhra train burning in which 59 Kar Sevaks were killed, told officials: “This time the situation warrants that the Muslims be taught a lesson to ensure that such incidents do not recur ever again.”
“The chief minister expressed the view that emotions were running very high among the Hindus and it was imperative that they be allowed to vent their anger,” said the affidavit, made available to the media.