Godhra riots: IPS Bhatt to be cross examined

Ahmedabad, june 8 (PTI): The Nanavati Commission, probing the 2002 riot cases, on Wednesday rejected application of IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt, challenging his cross examination by other parties, including the state government. Commission, comprising retd Justices G T Nanavati and Akshay Nanavati, in its order said that Bhatt had no problem when he was cross examined by an NGO Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM), Central Relief Committee and the Congress Party.
However, he developed reservations when the state government, during cross examination, asked about his past record and questioned his credibility, as it wanted to know the veracity of his claims in the affidavit, it said. Following this dual stance of Bhatt, with regard to cross examination, the commission said his application that he should not be cross examined by other parties is rejected, commission added. After the rejection of his application, Bhatt requested the commission that whatever the state government or other parties wanted to ask him could be routed through the panel instead of them asking it directly.
Commission asked Bhatt to give an application in writing in this regard for consideration. It also deferred the hearing on application by Jamiyat Ulam Hind (JUH), challenging Bhatt’s cross examination till June 14, following request by JSM counsel Mukul Sinha, who had opposed JUH’s application. Sinha, who is out of station, had further urged the panel in an application, to hear him before it passed any order with regard to JUH’s plea. Bhatt was summoned last month by Nanavati Commission for questioning in connection with his affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, where the IPS officer had claimed Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on night of February 27, 2002 had called a meeting, where he instructed his officers to allow Hindus “to vent out their anger” during the clashes and he wanted Muslims to be “taught a lesson”.
Bhatt challenged his cross examination contending that commission had called him under section 5 of the Commission of Inquiry Act to elicit information from him with regard to meeting called by Modi on night of February 27,2002. Bhatt had further said that he was not being examined by the commission as a witness and nor was panel going to receive evidence in form of affidavit from him. Therefore it would be improper to permit other parties to cross examine him with regard to his affidavit before the SC which is pending. Bhatt was examined by the commission on May 16, after which he was cross examined by the Jan Sangharsh Manch, Congress Party, the Central Relief Committee and the state government.