Riot panel quizzes ex-DGP on Guj govt's role in Sarabhai's PIL

Suspended IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt had told the Commission -- which is probing the riots -- in May that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had tried to undermine the PIL, filed in the Supreme Court in 2002.

Following this, the Commission asked Sreekumar, who was Bhatt's superior officer in the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB), to file an affidavit on Bhatt's claims. "On August 2, the Commission had asked me to clarify the role of the state government regarding Mallika Sarabhai's PIL by filing an affidavit, which I did early this month," Sreekumar told reporters here.

Today, I was called by the Commission to answer some queries with regard to my affidavit." "As the proceeding was in-camera, I cannot tell what happened. I can only tell you that the Commission did not ask about the contents of my affidavit, but questioned me more on the process that the government had followed at that time," Sreekumar said.

Sreekumar has said in the affidavit that Chief Minister Modi had called a meeting, and asked him to hand over Rs 10 lakh to Sanjeev Bhatt, which he did. The Chief Minister and Bhatt were in direct communication, and he (Sreekumar) was not aware what happened next, the affidavit says.

Earlier this month, Mallika Sarabhai had accused Modi of using public funds to "bribe" her lawyers, in order to sabotage the PIL filed by her. The PIL, filed in April 2002, contended that the state administration and Gujarat Chief Minister were "complicit" in the 2002 riots.

During his deposition before the Nanavati Commission in May, Sanjeev Bhatt was asked if any government functionary had tried to undermine the proceeding in Sarabhai's PIL.

"Chief Minister Narendra Modi tried to undermine the proceeding," was Bhatt's reply. Bhatt, who has accused Modi of misusing state machinery during post-Godhra riots, was suspended by the Gujarat government on August 8 for misconduct, unauthorised absence from duty, etc.

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