In a major development related to the 2002 Godhra riots, the Nanavati Commission on Wednesday ordered the constitution of a committee to probe the destruction of documents of the police department, pertaining to the riot period.
A committee consisting of MD Antani, secretary (home) and Tirthraj, additional director general of police (ADGP), state arms unit, will inquire into the matter. It has been asked to specify which documents have still been maintained by the government, in what circumstances it destroyed some documents, and ascertain the status of half-a-dozen documents. It is expected to submit its report within three weeks.
The committee has been asked to find out whether suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt had submitted a report on the riots, when he was posted in the State Intelligence Bureau in 2002. The commission has acted on a plea filed by Bhatt, seeking an inquiry and action against the state government for destruction of certain documents.
Bhatt is fighting a legal battle to prove the complicity of the state government in the 2002 riots. He had testified before the commission in June last year. He had sought access to 47 documents about the police department’s movement, communication and action during the riots that went on for over three months in 2002.
Bhatt welcomed the commission’s order. “Let’s wait and watch and look at the conduct of the committee. I hope that it will act and the truth will come out,” said Bhatt in reply to a question whether the committee comprising government officers would act neutrally.
Meanwhile, Bhatt’s lawyer Somnath Vatsa said that the Gujarat high court would hear an application filed by the government over the requisition of documents by the commission and their inspection by Bhatt.
According to Vatsa, the government wants clarity about the court’s October 2012 order, whether Bhatt should be allowed to inspect the documents.
Last year, along with People's Union for the Civil Liberties (PUCL), Bhatt filed a PIL in the high court to get access to certain 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, the court had directed the state to produce documents sought by Bhatt before the commission and asked the suspended IPS officer to conduct his inspection following which he would have to file an affidavit.