Gandhinagar: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi Saturday ignored a senior police officer`s affidavit directly implicating him in the 2002 riots, while the officer said he stood by what he had said and was ready to depose further on the matter.
Modi, who attended a high profile official function near Palanpur in north Gujarat, did not appear to take any notice of Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt`s accusations, while Tourism Minister and government spokesperson Jainarayan Vyas chose to avoid comment on the issue as a judicial process was on.
"We have said whatever we had to before the SIT (the apex court-appointed special investigation team probing the riots)," Vyas said.
Bhatt, who was part of the state intelligence set up then, blamed Modi for the communal carnage, saying the chief minister wanted Muslims to be taught "a lesson" for the Feb 27, 2002 Godhra train burning that left 59 Kar Sevaks dead and that Hindus should "be allowed to vent their anger".
The 1988 batch IPS officer himself seemed unfazed by the storm his allegations had raised.
"I have deposed before the Special Investigation Team (SIT), the Nanavaty-Mehta judicial enquiry commission probing the 2002 communal riots and the process I have gone through has made me go for the affidavit before the Supreme Court. Rest I leave it to the apex court. If I am called, I will depose before it," he said.
To questions why he had remained silent so long, Bhatt said nobody had asked him anything till 2009. "When the SIT asked me, I testified thereafter but the process left me concerned and therefore the affidavit," he said.
Meanwhile, lawyer Mukul Sinha, who has been representing the riot victims before the Nanavaty-Mehta commission, feels that the implications of the allegations against Modi in the affidavit are very serious.
"If these charges are corroborated, they are enough for his removal from the position that he holds," he said.