Probe Ordered into Destruction of 2002 Riots Papers

Probe Ordered into Destruction of 2002 Riots Papers
Heeding the demand of suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, Nanavati Commission today ordered a high-level inquiry into the alleged destruction of 2002 post-Godhra riot papers.

The Commission, headed by Justice (retd) G T Nanavati, probing the 2002 Gujarat riots, ordered the setting up of a committee comprising Home Secretary M D Antani and Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), State Arms Unit, Tirthraj.

The committee has been directed to inquire whether the documents sought to be inspected by Bhatt were maintained by the state government or Director General's Office or Intelligence Bureau or by none of them.

The Commission has also directed the committee to find out when and under what circumstances certain documents were destroyed either by the state authorities and to give its report within three weeks from today.

Raising doubts over the government's claims of destruction of some 2002 post-Godhra riots-related documents, Bhatt had pleaded to the Commission to appoint a high-level investigation.

Bhatt had filed an application on November 9, last year before the Commission with the chronology of events starting with his deposition in June 2011 before the Commission, when a senior state government counsel for the first time had claimed the destruction of documents, till the affidavit filed by the state with the probe panel mentioning the destruction of documents.

Alleging that there were 'faults' in the averments made by the government in an affidavit filed before the Commission, Bhatt had requested the panel to "urgently institute an independent high-level investigation in exercise of its powers under section 5A of the Commission of the Inquiry Act."

In an affidavit filed on November 6, last year before the Commission, DIG (Intelligence) J K Bhatt had disclosed that certain documents connected to the period of 2002 riots were destroyed in "routine course."

Alleging attempts by the state government to mislead the Commission, Sanjiv Bhatt had sought investigation "into the aspect of the alleged destruction of records as also in order to unearth other documents which have been falsely claimed as not being maintained".

Last year, Bhatt, jointly with an NGO People's Union for the Civil Liberties (PUCL), had filed a PIL in the Gujarat High Court to get the access of certain 2002 riot-related documents, which were, as claimed by him, repeatedly denied to him both by the state government and the Commission.

While disposing of the PIL on October 12, last year, the court had directed the state to produce documents sought by Bhatt before the Commission and asked the suspended IPS officer to conduct their inspection following which he would have to file an affidavit on that basis.
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