Guj govt slammed for destroying 2002 riot records

Oppn Cong and lawyers representing riot victims severely criticized the Gujarat govt for destroying SIB records.

Ahmedabad/New Delhi: Congress leaders and
lawyers of 2002 post-Godhra riots victims on Thursday slammed the
Gujarat government for destroying vital State Intelligence
Bureau (SIB) records pertaining to the clashes, calling the
action a "criminal conspiracy."

Alleging there was an attempt to "hide" the truth
regarding the alleged involvement of Chief Minister Narendra
Modi and his cabinet colleagues, they demanded an indepedent
inquiry under the supervision of the Supreme Court into the
BJP government`s action.
"This is nothing short of a criminal conspiracy to see
that the truth does not emerge. It clearly points out that the
state government is trying to cover up the entire matter,"
party spokesperson Manish Tewari said in New Delhi.

Tewari found it a "complete travesty" that documents
pertaining to a "massacre and carnage", which is under
investigation of the highest court of the land and in which
the "needle of suspicion is directly at the Chief Minister of
Gujarat", gets destroyed in this manner.

The Congress spokesperson said that at a time when the
investigation is going on, the disappearance or destruction of
the documents that would have thrown light on "why the state
machine was culpable or otherwise", clearly points out that
the state government was involved in the cover-up.

In Ahmedabad, Gujarat Congress chief Arjun Modhvadia
said, "the records were destroyed to hide the truth regarding
involvement of Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet

"It is criminal negligence to destroy the records on
which cases are pending in the courts, as well as a commission
inquiring in the matter," he said.

"I demand that an independent inquiry be constituted
under the supervision of the Supreme Court in the matter," he
Lawyer Mukul Sinha of the NGO Jan Sangharsh Manch,
which represents some of riot victims, said, "It is a terrible
thing for the government to do. We had a doubt that they had
been destroyed."

"Since all the allegations were against police officer
for inactions and negligence, destruction of SIB records could
have serious implications," Sinha said.

Senior counsel S B Vakil representing the state
government in the Nanavati Commission, probing the 2002 riots,
had yesterday told reporters that telephone call records,
officers` movement registers and vehicle log books of the SIB
pertaining to the period of 2002 riots were destroyed in 2007,
as per government rules.

Vakil had made this revelation while talking to
media-persons after the questioning of IPS officer Sanjeev
Bhatt was over for the day before the Commission.

Now with the records destroyed it would be difficult to
prove the allegations against the accused policemen and other
political leaders, Sinha said.

"This could also affect judgment in the Godhra train
burning case as the phone call records, movement records of
police and political leaders prior, during and after the
incident are no more," he added.

Eleven persons were sentenced to death and 20 others
awarded life sentence, in connection with the burning of S-6
coach of Sabarmati Express train outside Godhra railway
station on February 27, 2002. Sixty three persons were
acquitted in the case.

All the convicts have now filed an appeal against the
trial court verdict in the Gujarat High Court.


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