As if he was waiting for it, and happy that it came, India’s Home Minister P. Chidambaram, in a show of brazen partisanship – welcomed the filing of the affidavit in the Supreme Court by IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, where Bhatt accused Gujarat Chief Minister of being complicit in the killings of the Muslims.
“I am glad people are standing up to say what they feel happened during the period,” Chidambaram told reporters here.
For a guy who defends national criminals, smugglers and terrorist accomplices when he is not doing his day job of Indian Home or Finance Minister, Chidambaram’s statement does not surprise one in the least bit. But, it does give a glimpse into the urgency that the ruling coalition is in to “nail” Narender Modi – a serious contender for the Prime Minister, given his record.
Bhatt is not the first decoy that the anti-nationals have used to nail Modi. There was Teesta Setalvad who was proved to have done the following:
- Cooked up cookie-cutter testimonies and used fake signatures of witnesses
- Cooked up fake stories like tearing up of a pregnant woman’s womb in riots
- Used Rais Khan to threaten Zahira Sheikh and her mother to make “favorable” statements
- Hacked into Rais Khan’s emails and pushed him to carry out orders “not in the interest of communal harmony” (as testified by Rais Khan, one-time accomplice of Teesta Setalvad)
On 22 February 2011 a special court convicted 31 people for arson and deliberately killing HIndu pilgrims, monks and volunteers for the temple in Ayodhya by burning them alive. 11 of the accused were sentenced to death, while 20 were sentenced to life imprisonment. It was not an accident, but a planned act, the court said.
“The cause of fire which took place in coach S-6 was not short circuit or accidental because of any leakage of kerosene from stove of any passenger; but definitely petrol in huge quantity came to be poured inside the coach,” the court has held.
“The target was not all passengers but definitely the karsevaks who were travelling in this train.”
The conspiracy was hatched on the previous day by Haji Bilal, Faruk Bhana, Abdul Rajak Kurkur and Salim Panwala.
“As per the plan, Kurkur and Panwala both had gone to Kalabhai Petrol Pump on moped on 26-2-2002 around 10 pm taking with them other conspirators…In a tempo and purchased 140 litres loose petrol in different seven carboys.”
Court also refered to the history of riots in Godhra between Muslim Ghanchis and Hindu Sindhis.
- 1947-48 riots
- 1953-55 riots
- 1965 riots
- 1980-81 riots
- 1985 riots
In 1980 also in the riots, the Muslim Ghanchis has burned alive a family of 5 Hindu Sindhis. That violence had occured next to the Signal Falia near the same railway tracks, where the Godhra burning occured in 2002.
After this incident, which was done by the Ghanchis, the anger in Hindus flared up due to the old memories of 1980 incident. In the subsequent violence 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed (statement of Junior Home Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, a veteran Congress MP, in Rajya Sabha). Both the communities faced violence and death.
If one looks at the Gujarat riots and the relentless campaign that has targeted Narender Modi somethings don’t quite square up:
- If members from both the communities were killed almost in the proportion of their overall population, then how was it a planned event by the State Government. If it indeed was, then Gujarat riots may stand out as Modi’s greatest administrative failure in his rather successful career. For, if he was really good at targeting Muslims, then he obviously goofed if proportionate number (to their respective populations) of Hindus were also killed! If anything, you can accuse him of FAILING Hindus, not leading them against the Muslims.
- If Teesta Setalvad was cooking up stuff, using accomplices to threaten witness who weren’t favorable and then turning on those accomplices when they couldn’t stoop any lower, then what is the worth of all those accusations against Modi that are BASED on her “NGO’s stories” itself? Garbage upon Garbage?
- If the opposition of Modi have been jumping around trying to “get him” and “nail him” no matter what, then isn’t it time, we turn around and ask them to prove themselves??
Now, let us go back to Sanjiv Bhatt.
He has been charge-sheeted and his case is pending in Supreme Court for fraudulently targeting a lawyer. The National Human Rights Commission has already indicted him for Rs 1 lakh.
He keeps interesting company – he and a former judge RR Jain were co-conspirators in that case of fraudulently targeting the Rajasthani lawyer. Jain was later demoted by the Gujarat High Court and then suspended. Why did they do so?
Rajpurohit was a tenant of the then Gujarat high court judge Jain’s sister Amribai, who owned a shop in Pali’s Vardhman Market. “To get this shop vacated, the judge, his uncle Phootarmal and the IPS officer kidnapped and implicated Rajpurohit in April 1996,” said Pushp Kumar Jain.
So vengeance and committing fraud using his official powers as an IPS officer is something that Sanjiv Bhatt has been upto before. Been there. Done that!
Moreover, the meeting where Sanjiv Bhatt got all those “instructions” from Modi, didn’t have Bhatt as an attendee! Gujarat ex-DGP K Chakravarthi saysthat IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt was not even in the meeting where he claimed Narendra Modi wanted Hindus to go rioting. In fact, he was too junior to be even there! Sour grapes?
The Special Investigating Team (SIT) is very severe and pointed in its brushing aside of the filing by Bhatt:
SIT Chairman Raghavan notes: ‘The inquiry clearly established that a meeting was in fact held at the chief minister’s residence on the night of 27.02.02 after the chief minister’s return to Ahmedabad following his visit to Godhra earlier in the day.’ (Page 3 of chairman’s comments)
-According to SIT report before Supreme Court the meeting lasted for about half an hour. There were eight confirmed participants:
- Chief Minister
- Acting Chief Secretary
- Additional Chief Secretary (Home)
- Ahmedabad Commissioner of Police
- Secretary (Home)
- Principal Secretary to CM
- Secretary to CM
-When inquiry officer of SIT examined Narendra Modi on 25 March 2010, Modi admitted that he had called a law and order meeting at his residence on 27 February 2002, after his return from Godhra where he had gone to inspect the Sabarmati carnage. Asked about who was present, Modi named the seven officers, apart from himself, listed above. Modi also said, “Sanjiv Bhatt, the then DC (Int.) did not attend, as this was a high level meeting.”
-Before the SIT, three of the senior officers present — “pleaded loss of memory due to passage of time”. (Page 16)
-Four other officers — have categorically denied that the CM had instructed the police not to control Hindu mobs for a window of time. One officer, who is presently on deputation to the Central ministry of commerce, has denied attending this meeting at all.
-Wrapping up his observation, the inquiry officer of SIT states: “It can be concluded that a law and order meeting was in fact held by Modi at his residence late in the evening of 27 February 2002. However, the allegation that the chief minister instructed the chief secretary, DGP and other senior officials to allow the Hindu community to vent their anger on the Muslims in the wake of Godhra incident is not established.”
-Senior IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt claims on his own that he was present at the meeting convened at the CM’s residence. Sanjiv Bhatt, presently a deputy inspector general, was posted as a deputy commissioner of police in the State Intelligence Bureau at that time.
-Sanjiv Bhatt told the SIT that it was DGP who had insisted on his presence at the meeting. According to Sanjiv Bhatt, since the state intelligence chief was away on leave, the DGP had wanted somebody from the intelligence department to be present to provide answers on the intelligence failure behind the Sabarmati carnage at Godhra and tackle any other intelligence related query that might have come up at the meeting.
-Sanjiv Bhatt, however, refused to say more. He told the SIT that since the probe against Modi was merely at a preliminary stage, he would not like to speak up. However, if a criminal case was registered he would be duty bound to testify and tell the truth. (Given the purely exploratory nature of the SIT’s mandate, as a serving officer, Sanjiv Bhatt’s rationale was that speaking out at this stage would jeopardise his career without necessarily having any impact.)
-Other seven officers at the meeting have denied to support Sanjiv Bhatt’s claim that he was present in the meeting. While three officers have pleaded loss of memory, then DGP has categorically denied Sanjiv Bhatt’s presence. Others too have not supported Sanjiv Bhatts’s claim.
-SIT has concluded on page 149 of his report, “Since Sanjiv Bhatt’s presence at the meeting is not proved his statement has to be ignored.”
-The SIT has stated that, “Sanjiv Bhatt is considered an unreliable witness, especially because no official, who is known to have definitely attended the meeting has spoken of his presence there. Also he was considered too junior to have been invited to such a high-level meeting.” (Pages 3-4 of chairman’s comments)
That Sanjiv Bhatt, an IPS officer with record of fraud and misdemeanours in the past is lying is fairly obvious. That he is another decoy in the long list of attempts by Congress, Over-Zealous and self-proclaimed “Seculars”, and other UPA coalition partners is also clear and also expected.
But what surprised me most was the coming out of the Indian Home Minister batting for a guy – without any inquiry or evidence or intelligence – and throwing accusations at Modi, simply because he is an opponent!
There is always room in a democracy for competition and opposition. But it doesn’t have to take such a color. Oh well, we have quite a guy posing as a Home Minister anyway!