Two anti-Modi top cops trade charges

 Suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt and his one-time senior R B Sreekumar, both part of the anti-Narendra Modi camp, were on Wednesday locked in a war of words over the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat.

Sreekumar, a former DGP, has alleged that Bhatt maintained silence over the post-Godhra riots due to "ulterior motive" and "for avoiding clash of interests with government".

He slammed the suspended IPS officer in a letter to him, accusing him of "manipulating" and "suppressing" information after the latter on Wednesday accused the former of contradicting his own statements before the Nanavati Commission, which is probing the communal violence.

The verbal duel between the two started when Sreekumar filed an affidavit before the Commission yesterday, raising questions about Bhatt's integrity for speaking up against the Modi government after almost nine years of the riots.

Sreekumar said in 2002 he had asked Bhatt, who was DCP (Intelligence) here during the riots, to file an affidavit before the panel but he had not done so. A similar request by the state DGP in 2004 was also not acted upon by Bhatt.

Reacting to Sreekumar's charge, Bhatt in a letter to the former DGP, accused him of "disregarding" many important information with SIB while filing affidavits before the two- member judicial panel.

Sreekumar has filed eight affidavits before the riot panel over the years, detailing intelligence inputs collected by the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB) that he headed during the 2002 riots.

Bhatt, in his letter, said, "I am a little intrigued and perplexed by the content, tenor and timing the letter."

"Truth is always bitter, painful and naked, and so unpalatable to people who do not stick to it," Sreekumar said in his reply to Bhatt's letter.

"You claimed you were (then) ADGP G C Raiger's staff officer, you were duty bound to file an affidavit... but you deliberately avoided. In my view, you have taken the stand for avoiding any clash of interests with the Government."

"What prevented you from filing an affidavit then?... Similar action was reportedly taken by Shri Rahul Sharma. Does your prolonged silence owes its genesis to some ulterior motive hitherto unknown to people?" Sreekumar sought to know from Bhatt, who earlier this year alleged Modi's complicity in the riots triggered by Godhra train carnage.
Sharma, a senior IPS officer, has been accused of misconduct by Government for not submitting the original CDs having cellphone records related to the riots to respective Investigating Officers or to his supervisory officers.

This was despite knowing that under Section 6 of the Commission of Inquiry Act, any information given to the Commission cannot be used against the deponent except for perjury, Sreekumar maintained.

"I, as your senior, had requested you, along with others, to file an affidavit in this connection (riots) to which you had turned a deaf ear," the retired DGP said.
"There is absolutely no need for any direction from the Commission or any judicial body to anybody for filing an affidavit. You know that you had suo motu filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court (in Zakia Jaffery's case)," he said.

"And in this affidavit also, for reasons best known to you, the full facts regarding Government role in the riots, subversion of criminal justice system and tampering with the PIL (related to riots) of (social activist) Mallika Sarabhai were not presented," Sreekumar added.

Accusing Bhatt of 'manipulating' information, Sreekumar alleged he conveniently suppressed order of then DGP K Chakravarthi directing all Commissioners of Police, ADGP CID (Crime and Intelligence) ADGP (Intelligence), SPs and all range in-charge officers to file affidavits before the panel. Sreekumar said nearly 12 intelligence reports produced by Bhatt was given to him at the time of his first affidavit in July 2002.

However, these documents did not contain anything about the role of government officials in planning the anti-minority riots and subsequent prolonged subversion of the criminal justice system to deny justice to the victims, he stated.

"Even today instead of filing an affidavit, you are asking for so much of data from the government. Do you expect the government to present data harming their political interests to you on a platter," Sreekumar asked.

"Further, even your role in undermining the PIL by Mallika Sarabhai is yet to be presented to any judicial body by you," he concluded.

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