Nanavati panel allows cross-examination of Bhatt on May 16

Nanavati Commission, probing the 2002 riot cases allowed an NGO to cross examine the IPS officer.

Ahmedabad: Nanavati Commission, probing
the 2002 riot cases, on Monday allowed an NGO, Jan Sangharsh Manch
(JSM), which represents some of the victims of post-Godhra
riots, to cross examine IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt on May 16.

The NGO had last month moved the application before
the commission requesting summoning and cross examination of
Bhatt over alleged complicity of Gujarat Chief Minister
Narendra Modi in the post-Godhra riots.

Bhatt, in an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court
last month, had claimed he attended the meeting held by Modi
on February 27, 2002 where the chief minister allegedly
instructed his officers to allow Hindus to vent out their
anger during communal clashes.

"We have evidences and statements of some people who
were present in the meeting (of February 27, 2002). Bhatt
also falls under the same category," Justice G T Nanavati, who
is heading the commission, said.

The commission has already summoned Bhatt for
examination on May 16.

"It would be his (Bhatt`s) word against their`s. Let
the truth come out," Nanavati further said.

"Considering that Bhatt has already filed an affidavit
in the Supreme Court, he could be cross examined," Nanavati
said allowing JSM to cross examine the IPS officer on May 16,
the day when the commission has summoned him.

The commission also said that after examining Bhatt
it could record his statement and treat him as a witness.

Justice Nanavati further clarified that all the
proceedings of the panel will take place in open court, be it
examination of Bhatt or cross examination either by JSM or the
state government.

"I do not know how some of the media reports said that
the examination of Bhatt would be done in-camera," Nanavati
said, adding that the commission`s proceedings were always
held in an open court.

Some of the officials of the panel had earlier said
questioning of Bhatt will be done in-camera.

The JSM`s application, contending the deposition of
Bhatt "would be very important and material evidence" on
deciding the role and conduct of the chief minister and
others, was opposed by the state government.

Counsel for state government Devang Vyas, in a written
reply to Nanavati commission while opposing JSM application,
contended that it was `misconceived` and `untenable` in law.

Vyas further said JSM did not have legal right to
prefer or maintain the present application on the grounds that
the organisation`s similar application, demanding summoning of
Modi and two others for cross-examination, had been rejected
by the commission in September 2010.

The commission asked Vyas, "how could JSM`s
application hurt the government, when it should be the first
one to cross-examine Bhatt for the revelations made in his
affidavit in the apex court", while dismissing its demand for
rejecting the NGO`s plea.


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