2. Who killed Haren Pandya?
3. Body of Sanjiv Bhatt's affidavit before the Supreme Court
4. R.N. Bhattacharya on Sanjiv Bhatt
The body of the affidavit --
AFFIDAVIT OF SANJIV RAJENDRA BHATT I.P.S
I, SANJIV RAJENDRA BHATT I.P.S, aged about 47 years, residing at Bunglow No,2, Sushil Nagar Part II, Oppisite Mahatma Gandhi Labour Institute, Drive-In Road, Ahmedabad 380 052, do hereby state and solemnly affirm as under:
1. I respectfully state and submit that I am presently posted as the Principal of State Reserve Police Training Centre, Junagadh, Gujarat. I am filing this affidavit to bring on record certain aspects concerning the enquiry/investigation being conducted by the Special Investigation Team (SIT), appointed by this Hon’ble Court. The reason for filing this affidavit directly will become clear in the subsequent paragraphs.
2. I am a post Graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai. After completing my post-graduation, I joined the Indian Police Service (IPS) in 1988 and was allotted to the Gujarat cadre. Over the last 23 years, I have served in different capacities in various Districts, Police Commissionerates and Police Units.
3. I was posted as the Deputy Commissioner Of Intelligence, State Intelligence Bureau, Gandhinagar, from December 1999 to September 2002. As the Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence with the State Intelligence Bureau, I used to look after all the matters pertaining to the Internal Security of Gujarat including matters pertaining to the Border Security, Coastal Security and Security of Vital Installations in Gujarat as also matters pertaining to VVIP security, including the security of the Chief Minister. I was also designated as the Nodal Officer for sharing of intelligence with various Central Agencies and the Armed Forces of the Union of India, This was the post I was occupying at the time when 2002 Gujarat Riots took place.
4. I respectfully state that owing to the post I was occupying in the State Intelligence Bureau, I came across huge amounts of intelligence and information pertaining to the events that had transpired prior to, as well as during the Gujarat Riots of 2002. By virtue of the office held by me during the said period, I had the occasion to frequently interact with various high-lecel functionaries of the State and the Union of India and was therefore, privy to a plethora of information including some very sensitive information pertaining to the various acts of commission and omission attributable to certain high ranking functionaries of the State. The information and documentary evidence, which I have already shared with the SIT, can throw light on the real nature of events that led to the incident of burning of the S-6 Coach of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra on 27th February 2002 and the larger conspiracy and official orchestration behind the subsequent Gujarat Riots of 2002.
5. It may kindly be appreciated that I was privy to the said information in my capacity as an officer serving with the Intelligence Bureau, Therefore, I was constrained to maintain confidentiality and could not have disclosed information of such sensitive nature, unless called upon to do so under a binding legal obligation. Accordingly, on being summoned by SIT for the first time in November 2009, I had provided the SIT with certain relevant information and documents, including original floppy discs containing the entire cell phone/cell-site records of Godhra Town for 26th and 27th February 2002; as well as the original print-outs of very important call records of certain high-ranking functionaries of the State for 27th and 28th February 2002. It may kindly be noted that I have deposed before the SIT on several occasions and have endeavoured to assist the SIT to the best of my ability. I am constrained to take the liberty of filing this affidavit before this Hon’ble Court to bring on record certain disquieting aspects and inadequacies in the manner and approach of the SIT, personally experienced by me during my interaction with the SIT. As conveyed to the SIT in November 2009, and even during subsequent interactions, I was present at the meeting called by the Chief Minister on the late night of 27.2.2002 and was personally aware about the instructions given thereat and the events that transpired thereafter. I had also provided the SIT with verifiable details regarding the on-going cover up operation; including the contemporaneous efforts made by high officials of the State administration to undermine the proceedings of Writ Petition (Civil) No.221 of 2002., which was pending before this Hon’ble Court in 2002. I have time and again tried to bring these facts to the notice of the Special Investigation Team but they seem to be disinclined to follow-up these important leads in the course of the enquiry/investigation being carried out by them. Given the overall demeanour of the SIT officials while dealing with these crucial aspects of the ongoing enquiry/investigation, I believe it is my painful duty to bring to the notice of this Hon’ble Court that the SIT does not appear to be living up to the enormous trust reposed in it by the Supreme Court of India, to conduct an impartial and thorough probe into the allegations of a larger conspiracy and administrative complicity behind the Gujarat Riots of 2002 and hence the present Affidavit.
6. I respectfully submit that I was contacted by the office of Special Investigation Team in the month of November, 2009 and was asked to meet Shri A. K. Malhotra- SIT on a particular date. I was subsequently contacted once again by the office of the SIT and informed that the appointed date has been changed and postponed. In the meantime, despite my having maintained complete confidentiality regarding the telephonic summons received from SIT, I was approached by a very high level functionary in the Government of Gujarat and was sought to be appropriately briefed prior to my scheduled interaction with SIT. When I first met Shri. A. K. Malhotra-Member SIT, at the very outset, I had appraised him about the leak from his office and the consequential attempt to appropriately brief me for the deposition before SIT. During the course of my deposition before SIT, there were certain other occurrences which were highly indicative of information from within the SIT. These occurrences were brought to the notices of Shri A.K. Malhotra-Member SIT at that point of time itself. Despite my well founded apprehensions regarding the confidentiality of my deposition, I had truthfully and fearlessly responded to all the queries put forth to me. I had also provided Shri. A. K. Maalhotra-Member SIT, with certain relevant documents and records pertaining to the Godhra Riots of 2002. All the documentary evidence tendered by me was received-on-record by Shri. A. K. Malhotra-Member SIT. It needs to be mentioned that during the first phase of my interaction with SIT in 2009 and 2010, my statements were recorded in connection with the enquiry into the complaint made by Mrs. Zakia Jafri and not in connection with any investigation under the SIT. Despite my professional constraint as an intelligence officer, I shared substantial information with the SIT and informed them that I would be duty-bound and willing to reveal all the information within my knowledge, as and when I was under a binding legal obligation to do so.
7. It may kindly be be noted that my fears regarding the confidentiality of my deposition before SIT were eventually confirmed as the contents of ny signed deposition as well as the details of my interactions with Shri. A. K. Malhotra and Shri. Paramveer Singh-Members SIT, were somehow available to the highest echelons of the Government of Gujarat. As a result and consequence of the said breach of confidentiality, I was visited and continue to be visited with unpleasant consequences. The leakage of details regarding my earlier deposition and interaction with SIT have eventually found their way to the media and have further jeopardized my safety and security of my family members. To the best of my knowledge and belief, the details regarding my testimony before the Special Investigating Team, were first reported in the issue of Tehelka Magazine Volume 8 Issue 06 dated 12th February 2011, and once again in Tehelka Magazine Volume 8 Issue 07 dated 19th February 2011; which I crave leave to refer to and rely upon. I state that, prior to the publication of the said articles in Tehelka Magazine, I had never disclosed the details of my interaction with the details of my interaction with the Special Investigation Team to anybody. In view of the sensitive nature of the information, as also the situation prevalent in Gujarat, I had exercised utmost discretion and chosen to maintain complete confidentiality regarding the contents of my deposition and the details of my interaction with the Special Investigation Team.
8. In view of the leakage of my confidential deposition as well as the leakage of the details pertaining to my interaction with the SIT to the highest echelons of the Government of Gujarat and the subsequent publication of the said details by some sections of the media, I became highly apprehensive about my security and the safety and security of my family members. In view of the perceived security threat, I requested the Government of Gujarat to provide me and my family members with adequate and fool-proof security cover. Unfortunately, the Government of Gujarat has chosen not only to disregard my repeated requests, but has time and again, sought to jeopardize my security by withdrawing even the existing make-shift and minimal security arrangement, worked out from within the meagre resources at my disposal. Copies of my letters dated 14.2.2011, 5.3.2011.and 13.4.2011 are annexed at Annexure 1, Annexure 2 and Annexure 3 respectively.
9. I respectfully state and submit that on 16.3.2011 I received a summons dated 15.3.2011 from the SIT, calling upon me to remain present before them on 21.3.2011 at 11.30 a.m. for the purpose of giving my statement in Meghaninagar Police Station I C.R. No.67 of 2002. On the copy of said summons, I made a written endorsement, requesting the SIT to provide me with a copy of the FIR pertaining to Meghaninagar Police Station I C.R. No.67 of 2002 as well as copies of my earlier statements before SIT, as copies of the same had not been provided to me. Subsequently, a copy of the FIR was provided to me, but copies of my earlier statements have not been provided to me till date. A copy of the summons, dated 15.3.2011 along with my endorsement thereupon is annexed at Annexure 4.
10. I respectfully submit that on 18th March, 2011 I wrote a detailed letter to the Chairman of SIT, placing the above facts on record and reiterated my request for the provision of certain necessary documents. I further requested the Chairman to kindly ensure that all the officers as well as support staff, working under the control or in the employ of the Government of Gujarat, be completely dissociated from the tasks of recording, processing or safekeeping of my forthcoming deposition. I further expressed willingness to have my statement recorded under Section 164(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. A copy of my letter dated 18th March, 2011 is annexed at Annexure 5.
11. In accordance with the Summons, I reported to the office of the SIT at Gandhinagar, on 21st March 2011, for the purpose of getting my statement recorded in connection with the further investigation of Meghaninagar Police Station I C.R. No.67 of 2002. Despite my repeated written request, Iwas not provided with a copy of my earlier deposition before SIT and was informed that it would not be possible to provide me with a copy of my earlier statement or any of the contemporanrous documents and records requested for, vide my letter dated 18th March 2011. The said facts were put on record by way of my letter dated 22.3.2011, addressed to Chairman SIT. The said letter is annexed at Annexure 6.
12. My statement was recorded by SIT on 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 25th March, 2011. Thereafter I was informed that I was required to remain available as I would be called for further clarifications during the course of the ongoing investigation, as also for the purpose of confronting me with other witnesses, if necessary. During the course of my deposition before SIT, I time and again sought to bring out the relevant information pertaining the facts and circumstances; includibg the directions given by the Chief Minister, during the course of crucial meeting held at his residence on thelate night of 27th February 2002; that led to and facilitated the communal carnage of 2002. In my opinion, this was evidently a very important aspect of the investigation, since the events that transpired in my presence, at the said meeting had a huge impact and bearing on the conduct of the police force and State administration while dealing with the violence that started on 28th February 2002. It was submitted to the SIT that the course of subsequent incidents of communal violence could be fully appreciated only in the light of the directions given by the Chief Minister, during the said meeting. However, I was informed by the SIT that all these aspects could not be gone into, as my statement was being recorded in the further investigation of Meghaninagar Police Station I C.R. No.67 of 2002 and therefore had to be confined to the scope of the FIR pertaining to the events ay Gulberg Society on 28.2.2002.
13. I submitted to the members of SITthat this procedural constraint on their part defeated the very purpose of ascertaining the existence of any larger conspiracy or official orchestration behind the Gujarat Riots 2002. At my insistence, the SIT finally agreed to record the details of the events that had transpired in my presence, during the meeting with the Chief Minister on the late night of 27.2.2002. Upon my request, the SIT provided me with a relevant portion of the transcript of my testimony, pertaining to the instructions given by the Chief Minister, at the conclusion of meeting held on 27-02-2002, where it was tried to impress upon him that the decision to bring the dead bodies to Ahmedabad and the BJP announcement of supporting the VHP Bandh Call would definitely lead to outbreak of violence in Ahmedabad and across the state; and the Gujarat police did not have the manpower resources to deal with such a situation. The relevant portion of my testimomy, as recorded and provided to me by SIT, reads as follows:
“The Chief minister Shri. Narendra Modi said that the bandh call had already been given and the party had decided to support the same, as incidents like the burning of Kar-Sevaks at Godhra could not be tolerated. He further impressed upon the gathering that for too long the Gujarat Police had been following the principle of balancing the actions against the Hindus and Muslims while dealing with the communal riots in Gujarat. This time the situation warranted that the Muslims be taught a lesson to ensure that such incidents do not recur ever again. The Chief Minister Shri. Narendra Modi expressed the view that the emotions were running very high amongst the Hindus and it was imperative that they be allowed to vent out their anger”
The effects of these directions given by the Chief Minister were widely manifested in the half-hearted approach and the evident lack of determination on the part of the Police while dealing with the widespread incidents of orchestrated violence during the State sponsored Gujarat Bandh on 28th February 2002 and also during the weeks that followed.
14. I state and submit that, I had attended numerous meetings presided over by the Chief Minister, even before 27th February 2002 and continued to do so thereafter as well. On 27.2.2002. I was asked by the Control Room to accompany the DG&IGP Shri. K. Chakravarthi IPS to the said meeting, along with all relevant information, possibly because ADGP Intelligence Shri.G.C.Raiger was on leave on that particular day. It is further submitted that on numerous subsequent occasions, I had accompanied DG&IGP as well as ADGP Intelligence to different meetings called by the Chief Minister and other high Constitutional Functionaries.
15. I submit that on 25th March 2011, when I again tried to bring up the issue of a larger conspiracy or official orchestration behind the Gujarat Riots of 2002, as also the ongoing attempts at cover-up. I faced unconcealed hostility from members of SIT. This was even more obvious when I gave names of witnesses who could corroborate the fact of my having attended the said meeting with the Chief Minister on 27.2.2002.
16. Despite the strong reluctance of the SIT to record inconvenient details, I stated before them the names of witnesses who could substantiate the fact that I had accompanied the DG&IGP to the meeting with the Chief Minister on 27.2.2002. I was hopeful that this information would be gone into thoroughly by the SIT, to unravel the true nature of events that transpired. However the SIT has chosen to intimidate certain witnesses and coerce them in to refraining from stating the true facts and thereby has created an impression that the SIT is becoming a party to the ongoing cover-up operation in Gujarat. My apprehensions were substantiated when one of the witnesses I had named, Shri K.D.Panth, (Assistant Intelligence Officer with the State Intelligence Bureau in 2002) informed me that he had been called before the Special Investigating Team on 5.4.2011 and was virtually treated like an accused and was threatened with arrests and other dire consequences. It appears that other witnesses may have been similarly coerced into submission. I have put these facts on record by way of a letter to Chairman SIT. The said letter dated 6.4.2011 is annexed at Annexure 7.
17. It is most humbly submitted that as Deputy Commissioner(Intelligence) with the State Intelligence Bureau, during the Gujarat Riots of 2002, I was privy to a plethora of information pertaining to the facts and circumstances that led to and facilitated the communal carnage that took place in Gujarat in 2002. I did not bring these facts to light earlier due to the fact that I was privy to this information in my capacity as an officer of the Intelligence Bureau and was not expected to divulge the details unless under a legal obligation to do so. Moreover, at no time was I required to file any Affidavit before any Court, nor was I summoned or directed to depose before any authority or Commission. It has been my considered and consistent stand that I would disclose confidential information, which I was privy to as an Intelligence Officer, as and when I would be called upon to do so under the requirement of law. I had explicitly mentioned and clarified my aforementioned stand even in my first signed deposition before the SIT in November 2009.
18. It is my genuine apprehension that the SIT, while carrying out the further investigation of Meghaninagar Police Station I C.R.No.67 of 2002, is disinclined and reluctant to take on record and appropriately examine the evidence indicating the existence of any larger conspiracy or official orchestration behind the Gujarat Riots 2002. As an officer serving with the State Intelligence Bureau at that relevant point of time, I was not only present at the meeting held at the residence of Chief Minister on the night of 27.2.2002. but also had witnessed the apparent lack of firmness on part of many Police Units while dealing with the emergent situation on 28th February 2002 and thereafter. As the Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence in-charge of Internal Security for the State of Gujarat, I was required to constantly monitor and assess the developing situations and appropriately advice and assess the developing situations and appropriately advise and apprise various organs and officials of the Government, including the Chief Minister. As stated by me before the SIT, and substantiated by documentary and other verifiable evidence, I had the occasion to inter alia, apprise the Commissioner of Police Ahmedabad City and the Chief minister regarding the situation developing at Gulberg Society on 28th February 2002. I have stated before the SIT that many serious incidents of communal violence, including the carnage at Gulberg Society could have been easily prevented by firm and determined action on part of the Police.
19. It is humbly submitted that as repeatedly conveyed to the SIT, I remain duty bound to assist the Hon’ble Court in the proceedings of SLP(Criminal) No.1088 of 2008. As and when called upon, I am willing to provide all the information within my knowledge to this Hon’ble Court. It may kindly bee appreciated that I was privy to a large part ofthe said information by virtue of the fact that I was posted as Deputy Commissioner in the State Intelligence Bureau. Therefore, my divulging sensitive and confidential information, otherwise than under an order of this Hon’ble Court or during lawful investigation under the Code of Criminal Procedure; would not only be professionally improper but may also entail departmental or criminal proceedings against me, by a very vindictive administrative setup in the State of Gujarat. Even today, the situation in Gujarat is such, that witnesses would be afraid of vindictive reprisals and persecutions at the hands of the State machinery. Evidently, witnesses serving under the control of the State Government would be highly reluctant to come forward and take a stand that could imperil their own safety or the safety and security of their families. I therefore request that this Hon’ble Court be pleased to ensure that the SIT follows up on all the leads provided by me in such a manner that even reluctant witnesses feel safe and confident to state the truth. It is further requested that the Government of Gujarat and the authorities under its control may kindly be restrained from pressurizing witnesses with a view to prevent the truth from coming out.
20. I further state and submit that due to the events that have transpired since the time I first deposed before the SIT in Vovember 2009, I have serious and well founded apprehensions regarding my own safety and security of my family members. I request that this Hon’ble Court be pleased to direct the authorities concerned, to provide adequate and fool-proof security cover to me and my family.
21. In case this Ho’ble Court so desires, I shall be duty bound to file an additional affidavit for the purpose of providing further details and particulars regarding the facts and documents within my knowledge.