Ahmedabad: Lawyer of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) which probed the Godhra train burning incident and the riots thereafter, on Friday claimed that all witnesses relied upon by Zakia Jafri held a grudge against the Gujarat government.
"IPS officers like R B Sreekumar, Sanjeev Bhatt and Rahul Sharma, on whom complainant Zakia Jafri relies as prime witnesses, were either suspended or denied promotions or held grudge against the state government," SIT`s advocate R S Jamuar claimed in his replies to issues raised by Zakia Jafri in her petition.
All three IPS officers, who came out in the open against the Gujarat government on different occasions after the 2002 riots, had faced departmental actions.
While R B Sreekumar was denied his promotion as DGP, but was granted it after he approached the Central Administration Tribunal (CAT), Sharma was chargesheeted by the Gujarat home department for not submitting a CD containing call details record (CDR) of phone calls made during riots.
Similarly, IPS official Sanjeev Bhatt, who faces trial in a case of custodial death in Jamnagar district, has been suspended by the Gujarat government.
Jafri, whose husband and ex-Congress MP Ehsan Jafri was killed in a mob attack on Gulbarg Society during the 2002 post-Godhra riots, has filed a petition protesting a SIT report giving a clean chit to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others for their alleged role in the riots.
She has also demanded that the SIT report should be rejected and that Modi as well as others should be chargesheeted.
In his submissions before Metropolitan Magistrate B J Ganatra, Jamuar said that after investigation, all three IPS officers being cited as witnesses were found unreliable.
"Our investigation has concluded that Bhatt and Sharma were not only not reliable as witnesses, but they conspired to plant evidence against Modi and others," Jamuar said.
He submitted that Bhatt had threatened his constable K D Panth and driver Tarachand Yadav to sign affidavits to support his claims that he was present in the meeting at the Gujarat Chief Minister`s residence on February 27, 2002. "Both Panth and Yadav have retracted their statement and said that they did not see Bhatt entering the meeting room," he said.
Bhatt had filed an affidavit in Supreme Court claiming that during the meeting Modi directed all officials not to take any action against Hindus so that they could vent their anger.
"As per Bhatt`s claim, on the evening of February 27, he accompanied his then chief K Chakravarty while going to attend the meeting. But Chakravarty himself has denied this," Jamuar said.
"Whom should SIT believe? An officer of the rank of SP, who has all reasons to say everything against the state government or an officer of the rank of a DIG? I leave it to the court that after examining evidence about Bhatt`s claims, whether he could be considered a reliable, believable witness or not," he said. Further hearing will continue tomorrow.