News WrapGet Handpicked Stories from our editors directly to your mailbox

`Bhatt was not present in meeting with Modi`

In his affidavit to Supreme Court, Bhatt said he had attended a meeting on Feb 27, 2002 in which Modi asked cops to be "indifferent" to rioters.

Ahmedabad/New Delhi: Gujarat`s top police
officer at the time of post-Godhra riots on Saturday contradicted
IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who has filed an affidavit in the
Supreme Court implicating Narendra Modi in the communal
clashes, claiming he was not present in the meeting with the
Chief Minister held on February 27, 2002.

Bhatt had created a flutter in his affidavit alleging
that at the meeting Modi had instructed officers to allow
Hindus to "vent out their anger" during the clashes and wanted
Muslims to be "taught a lesson".

"He (Sanjiv Bhatt) was not present in that particular
meeting held with the Chief Minister and other high-ranking
officials. I have told this to the Special Investigation Team
(probing the riots) during my deposition," K Chakrabarthi,
then Director General of Police, said.
In Delhi, Congress stepped up attack against Modi
saying victims will not get justice as long as he is the Chief
Minister of Gujarat.

"As long as Narendra Modi is Chief Minister, the
victims cannot get justice there," party general secretary
Digvijay Singh told reporters.

The CPI(M) demanded immediate investigation of Modi`s
role in the 2002 post-Godhra riots and his prosecution
following accusations by a senior state police officer.

Noting that the affidavit filed by Bhatt had alleged
that Modi had "instructed senior police officials in a meeting
not to act to protect Muslims from violence", the party said
the statement "confirms the culpability of the Chief Minister
in the pogroms".
"There should be no further delay in the
investigations into the role of Narendra Modi and initiating
steps to prosecute him," the CPI(M) Politburo said in a

Predictably, the BJP came to Modi`s defence. "From
what I know of Narendra Modi personally I cannot even imagine
(that he would have supported post-Godhra rioters. The court
will itself decide on the PIL or affidavit that this person
has filed," former BJP president Rajnath Singh said.

Bhatt was posted in the Intelligence Department when
India saw its worst communal riots since the partition. Riots
that killed 1,200 people across Gujarat.

In his affidavit to the apex court, Bhatt says that he
attended a meeting on February 27, 2002 - after the Godhra
train burning incident earlier that day - during which Modi
asked police officers to be "indifferent" to rioters and to
the calls for help from areas under attack.

"It is up to the SIT and Supreme Court to decide on
it," Chakrabarthi, now retired and staying in Mumbai, said.

In his affidavit, Bhatt stated that he attended the
meeting on the day of Godhra train burning incident as he
was asked to accompany the DGP by the state control room.

Bhatt, posted as DCP at the State Intelligence Bureau
(SIB) during the 2002 riots, said he had attended the meeting
along with the DGP.

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

However, Tara Chand Yadav, Bhatt`s driver then, has
claimed that Bhatt accompanied the state`s DGP to the Chief
Minister`s bungalow on that day.

During questioning on two consecutive days in March
last year by theSIT, Modi had denied his complicity in any way
in the riots - or that he ordered policemen to ignore appeals
for help from those being targeted in the riots.

Bhatt has also accused the apex court-appointed SIT,
headed by former CBI Director R K Raghavan, of a "cover-up"

The SIT is also probing Modi`s alleged role in the
communal riots. The riots were triggered by the Godhra train
burning incident in which 59 people were killed.

Bhatt, a 1988-batch IPS officer, is currently posted
as Principal of the State Reserve Police (SRP) Training Centre
in Junagadh district.