‘SIT reluctant to examine key-witnesses in riot`

Suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt said SIT was "reluctant" in examining key-witnesses about the February 27, 2002 meeting held at Chief Minister Narendra Modi`s residence.

Ahmedabad: Making serious allegations
against the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team
(SIT), suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt on Friday said that the
agency was "reluctant" in examining key-witnesses about the
February 27, 2002 meeting held at Chief Minister Narendra
Modi`s residence.

In a letter to SIT chairman RK Raghavan, Bhatt has
also alleged that the agency was "intentionally disregarding"
important aspects of riot victim Zakia Jaffery`s complaint
implicating Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others.

"It seems that the SIT, for some inexplicable reason,
is continuing to intentionally disregard very important
aspects of the investigation into the complaint of Zakia Nasim
Ahesan Jaffery, dated June 8, 2006," Bhatt said in his letter
to Raghavan.

"Nothing illustrates this better than the deliberate
reluctance of the SIT to examine witnesses, who would be able
to provide very vital information about the meeting held at
the residence of the Chief Minister Narendra Modi on the late
night of February 27, 2002," he added.

In April last year, Bhatt had filed an affidavit in
the Supreme Court, in which, he had claimed that he was
present for the meeting called by Modi on the night of
February 27, 2002. He had alleged that during the meeting,
Modi had directed the state officials and his party colleagues
to let "Hindus vent out their anger" during the 2002 riots and
the "Muslims be taught a lesson."

In the letter to SIT, Bhatt further said that during
the course of his deposition, he had submitted to the SIT a
list of key-witnesses, "who could corroborate him about having
attended the meeting held at Modi`s residence on the late
night of February 27, 2002."

Bhatt also suggested that the SIT should shield its
officers against all possible allurements or pressures being
mounted by the Gujarat government, which is "ensconced with
high and mighty criminals".

"This is the barest minimum that you should be doing
even at this stage, by way of an honest and sincere attempt to
redeem and justify the tremendous faith reposed in you by the
Honourable Supreme Court of India," he added.

Bhatt also referred to yesterday`s letter to Raghavan
by former Chief minister Suresh Mehta, where he had explicitly
mentioned serious concerns about the fairness of the SIT probe
and had also raised some very valid issues about the integrity
and impartiality of the SIT under Raghavan`s stewardship.

Bhatt is presently out on bail after being arrested on
September 30 in connection with an FIR filed against him by a
police constable for allegedly threatening him, wrongfully
confining him and making him sign a false affidavit.


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