Riots Panel Denied Me Access to Intelligence Records: Bhatt

Riots Panel Denied Me Access to Intelligence Records: Bhatt

Suspended IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt today said that Justice Nanavati commission, which is probing the 2002 Gujarat riots, denied him permission to inspect the riot-related intelligence records.

A division bench of Gujarat High Court on June 16 had ordered the commission to allow Bhatt to inspect the records, irrespective of whether they are classified.

But Bhatt today said he was still denied access to these records, while special Prosecutor for the state government Devang Vyas said the commission was going to file a review petition before the High Court against division bench's order.

"The commission has again gone back to square one and today it said we will give you inspection of ordinary documents (other than intelligence records), what it had allowed earlier, and it also said that it is filing a review petition," Bhatt said.

Bhatt today approached the commission following the HC order, but was not allowed to inspect intelligence records.

"The commission is trying to protect the state. What it was doing behind the closed doors, now it will do it openly," he said.

Bhatt was in news after he alleged in his affidavit before the Supreme Court that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then the Chief Minister, asked the police to go soft on rioters when violence broke out across Gujarat following the train burning incident at Godhra in 2002.

Bhatt and the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) had filed a Public Interest Litigation in the High Court in 2012, seeking access to riots-related intelligence records from Gujarat government, after the government refused to provide them to Bhatt. 

"The High Court has clarified that commission cannot go into the aspect of the secrecy and relevance at this stage. Because that has already been conceded by the state. So I (Bhatt) should be allowed the inspection," Bhatt told PTI.

"Whether a document is relevant or irrelevant for the purpose of the inquiry can be decided only after I inspect it...This is what the High Court has clarified."

Despite several attempts, secretary of the Nanavati commission C G Patel could not be reached for his comments.

But Special Prosecutor Vyas confirmed that the commission was going to file a review petition, and said the commission granted Bhatt inspection of some of the documents but he declined.

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