Raghavan holds SIT meeting ahead of SC hearing

RK Raghavan, chief of SC-appointed SIT reinvestigating some post-Godhra riots cases, had a day-long meeting with his team members.

Updated: Apr 24, 2011, 22:56 PM IST

Ahmedabad: RK Raghavan, chief of Supreme court-appointed SIT reinvestigating some post-Godhra riots cases, had a day-long meeting with his team members ahead of the April 27 hearing in the Supreme Court on the complaint filed by the widow of Congress MP and riot victim Ehsan Jaffrey.

Mr Raghavan’s visit to the agency’s office in Gandhinagar assumes significance since the Special Investigating Team (SIT) is supposed to file a report by April 25 on whether further probe was required into Zakia Jaffrey’s complaint and also comes against the backdrop of the sensational affidavit filed by IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt in the apex court.

Ms. Zakia, in her complaint, has alleged that Mr Modi and 62 others, including his cabinet colleagues, police officials and senior bureaucrats aided and abetted the riots which left over 1,000 people dead across the State in 2002.

She had further alleged that between February and May 2002 there was a “deliberate and intentional failure” of the State government to protect the life and property of innocents.

Mr. Bhatt in his affidavit has accused the SIT of ‘coercing witnesses’, ‘hostility’, ‘cover-up of probe’ and ‘displaying reluctant attitude’ in recording of vital information related to the communal clashes.

He said that despite providing details of cover-up operations and efforts of undermining proceedings, the SIT “seemed to be disinclined to follow-up these important leads.”

Mr. Bhatt created a flutter in his affidavit alleging that at the meeting (held on night of February 27, 2002) Mr. Modi had instructed officers to allow Hindus to “vent out their anger” during the clashes and wanted Muslims to be “taught a lesson.”

However, in his testimony before the SIT, Mr Modi had said that Mr Bhatt being a junior officer at that time was not present in the meeting.

Former DGP (during the 2002 riots) K Chakrabarthi also said that Bhatt was not present in the meeting. Other members who were present in the meeting had also denied Mr. Bhatt’s presence.

However, Tara Chand Yadav, the then driver of Mr Bhatt, said that Mr. Bhatt indeed accompanied the state’s DGP to the Chief Minister’s bungalow on the day of the meeting.

Mr. Bhatt is presently posted as principal of the State Reserve Police (SRP) training centre in Junagadh district.

He also urged the apex court to direct the concerned authorities to provide adequate and fool-proof security cover to him and family members.