Riot panel quizzes ex-DGP on Guj govt`s role

Sanjeev Bhatt was asked if any government functionary had tried to undermine the proceeding in Sarabhai`s PIL.

Ahmedabad: Nanavati Commission on Friday
questioned the former Gujarat DGP (intelligence), R B
Sreekumar, on his affidavit in connection with the state
government`s alleged attempt to sabotage the PIL filed by
danseuse Mallika Sarabhai on 2002 riots in the state.

Suspended IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt had told the
Commission -- which is probing the riots -- in May that
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had tried to undermine
the PIL, filed in the Supreme Court in 2002.

Following this, the Commission asked Sreekumar, who was
Bhatt`s superior officer in the State Intelligence Bureau
(SIB), to file an affidavit on Bhatt`s claims.

"On August 2, the Commission had asked me to clarify the
role of the state government regarding Mallika Sarabhai`s PIL
by filing an affidavit, which I did early this month,"
Sreekumar told reporters here.

Today, I was called by the Commission to answer some
queries with regard to my affidavit."

"As the proceeding was in-camera, I cannot tell what
happened. I can only tell you that the Commission did not ask
about the contents of my affidavit, but questioned me more on
the process that the government had followed at that time,"
Sreekumar said.

Sreekumar has said in the affidavit that Chief Minister
Modi had called a meeting, and asked him to hand over Rs 10
lakh to Sanjeev Bhatt, which he did.

The Chief Minister and Bhatt were in direct
communication, and he (Sreekumar) was not aware what happened
next, the affidavit says.

Earlier this month, Mallika Sarabhai had accused Modi of
using public funds to "bribe" her lawyers, in order to
sabotage the PIL filed by her.

The PIL, filed in April 2002, contended that the state
administration and Gujarat Chief Minister were in "complicit"
in the 2002 riots.

During his deposition before the Nanavati Commission in
May, Sanjeev Bhatt was asked if any government functionary had
tried to undermine the proceeding in Sarabhai`s PIL.

"Chief Minister Narendra Modi tried to undermine the
proceeding," was Bhatt`s reply.

Bhatt, who has accused Modi of misusing state machinery
during post-Godhra riots, was suspended by the Gujarat
government on August 8 for misconduct, unauthorised absence
from duty, etc.


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