Friday, July 29, 2011

Congress uses IPS route to tar Modi

29 July 2011


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Even as the Supreme Court on Friday sought the Gujarat Government's view on a petition of IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt to transfer his criminal case outside Gujarat, the state government has dug out his emails to show he was playing in the hands of Congress to file the controversial affidavit alleging Chief Minister Narendra Modi's hand in the post-Godhra 2002 riots.

The emails show that he was in constant touch with Gujarat leader of opposition Shaktisinh Gohil and Gujarat Congress president Arjun Madhvadia and they allegedly instigated him to claim Modi had asked officers in a high-level meeting in 2002 to allow Hindus to "vent out their anger" as Muslims ought to be "taught a lesson."

Bhatt is the first person to allege Modi's hand in the anti-Muslim riots after the Godhra train burning that killed a score of Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya. In his April 15 affidavit, which the Supreme Court declined to take on record, that he was present in the high-level meeting where Modi had given these instructions. The state government officials have, however, contested his claim, pointing out that he was just a Superintendent of Police who cannot be present in any high-level meeting.

Reproducing some of the incriminating email exchanges of Bhatt on Friday, English daily The Pioneer said the set of emails sufficient to turn the needle of suspicion on him will be filed by the Gujarat government before the Apex Court as evidence to junk his April 15 affidavit.

A Bench of justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha has asked the Gujarat government and the Centre to file their replies by August 8 on Bhatt's plea to shift his case to any court outside Gujarat. 

The emails reveal Gohil supplying a background note of the riot cases to the police officer. Evidence of Bhatt's proximity to Gohil is seen in a request made by Bhatt for a Blackberry mobile phone from Gohil and he got it very next day.

In an email on April 27, 12 days after filing the controversial affidavit, Bhatt wrote to Gohil: "Still awaiting the Blackberry. Please send me a copy of the Note. Will try to suggest points if necessary." Gohil replied back: "Sure Bhai. I am at Bhavnagar. Will be back at late night. Will send both tomorrow." The next day, Bhatt acknowledged receipt of the mobile phone: Received the item. Awaiting the note."

Another email sent out by Gohil the same day later has two attachments, one giving background note of the pending riot cases in court and another titled "comments on the report submitted by SIT."

Bhatt responded within half an hour: "Read the backgrounder and the additional note. Both are highly informative. The background document is particularly very comprehensive. If you go through my affidavit, I have mentioned in Paras 4 and 5 that I had supplied information to SIT regarding the sequence of events that led to the burning of S6 coach at Godhra."

His contacts with PCC President Modhvadia are revealed in one of his emails to one Nasir Chhipa: "Arjunbhai spoke with me tonight. Let us see where he can be helpful to the larger cause. We are likely to meet on the day after tomorrow."


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