August 27, 2013
Fifteen and Sixteenth Days Arguments Zakia Jafri Protest Petition
A serving officer of the Gujarat government, then SP, Bhavnagar, Rahul Sharma who actually averts and prevents violence by putting his life at risk; who functions independently of his political masters (including then MOS Home and accused, Gordhan Zadaphiya) and arrests powerful BJP and VHP men and women for indulging in violence and other criminal acts; who preserves the mobile phone records that implicate powerful persons for conspiring and collaborating in violent mass crimes post Godhra in 2002; who disagrees with fabricated charges in the charge sheets in the Gulberg and Naroda Patiya cases prepared by the Crime Branch, Ahmebabad is charge sheeted for revealing this incriminating evidence to the Amicus Curaie Raju Ramachandran.
The government of Gujarat has also indulged in serious doctoring and tampering of documents argued senior advocate Mihir Desai for the sixteenth day before the Metropolitan Magistrate Court Nos 11, making a convincing pitch for the complete rejection of the SIT closure report. Handing over a special compilation of records from the voluminous SIT papers that clearly indicate tampering of records, Desai stated that a complicit and unprofessional SIT had not even looked into this serious criminal lapse though this was clearly visible from their own papers. The Gujarat home department under A-1 Modi had destroyed Vehicle Log Book records, Police Control Room Records and Wireless records on 30.3.2008 just five days after the Supreme Court had appointed the SIT on 26.3.2008. While indulging in this criminal act they had quoted an obsolete rule 262 of the Bombay Police Act when this had been replaced by the Gujarat Police Manual of 1975. The Inward register of the chief minister’s office, the Minutes of the meeting of 28.2.2020, the daily Itinerary of the chief minister as also a letter of the Home department had been clearly tampered with. (This letter of 6.3.2002 was overwritten by hand to show it had been written on 28.2.2002). Besides over four dozen SIB Messages in the SIT papers were in plain white blank paper without official format, an aspect that the SIT had chosen to turn a blind eye to. Desai argued that the SIT ignoring such brazen lapses was illustrative of its compromised functioning.
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) had stayed the operation of the charge sheet in 2012, making Rahul Sharma among the ten-twelve officers severely punished by the Modi-led Gujarat government for upholding the rule of law and the Indian Constitution. Sharma had been suddenly transferred out of Bhavnagar on March 26, 2002 (just as was Anupam Gehlot, SP Mehsana) simply because he had prevented Bhavnagar, a stronghold of Zadaphiya led VHP and BJP from becoming a cauldron of communal violence despite provocative hate speeches and other violent attempts . Brought to the Ahmedabad Crime Branch and assigned to assist the investigations into the Naroda Patiya and Gulberg massacres this officer had made his discomfiture known and official when the Crime Branch had tried to create a false line of argument in the first charge sheets filed in these cases. The Gujarat police come directly under A-1 Narendra Modi, holding cabinet rank as home minister. While holding the post of DCP Crime Branch, and while he and his superior AK Surolia had summoned Mobile Data records of all users in Ahmedabad city, the SIT had done nothing to analyse this data or put it to efficient use in their investigations. While testifying before the Nanavati-Shah-Mehta Commission in August 2004 Sharma had made copies of this mobile phone data public. In January 2010, it was Rahul Sharma who had provided this critical evidence to the Amicus Curaie Raju Ramachandran. His reward? A show cause notice by the vindictive Gujarat government!
Details of the application for relief against this illegal charge sheet before CAT showed that despite the fact that Rahul Sharma had provided details to the SC-appointed SIT about the reluctance of mobile phone records to provide full user details; and despite the fact that the representative of one such company had stated that he was under pressure from both the Gujarat police and political bigwigs in the state, the high powered SIT had chosen not to investigate this at all.
The critical evidence of the other whistleblower officer, former ADGP Intelligence RB Sreekumar lay in the fact that a)he had recorded that then DGP Chakravarti had told him about the criminal instructions issued by A-I Modi at the meeting of 27.2.2002 (“Hindus should be allowed to vent their anger on the streets and the police should not be impartial”); b) he had filed five critical SIB reports recording the illegal functioning of the police and bureaucracy as also the subversion of the criminal justice system; c) he had urged prosecution of Sandesh newspaper and VHP hate pamphlets; d) he had recommended the transfer of criminally complicit officers, a recommendation that had been implemented by KPS Gill sent in by the Central government; e) he had given independent reports to the Chief election Commission (CEC) that had been relied upon and f)he had recorded the illegal instructions given by A-1 Modi to him in an unofficial register; g) he had sent the SIB reports on the virulent hate speech of A-1 Modi at Becharaji to the National Commission of Minorities despite his bosses illegally ordering that he not do so. He too like Sharma and Sanjiv Bhatt who were also charge sheeted was rewarded with a charge sheet and denied promotion. Bhatt’s criticality lay in that he had sent messages from the SIB on 27.2.2002 mentioning the provocative sloganeering by the kar sevaks that led to a crowd gathering near the Godhra railway station.
Tracing the chain of command responsibility from an analysis of the Phone Call records of Top Police Officials of Ahmedabad City and the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) that have been dealt with at length in the Protest petition, Mihir Desai pointed out how the analyses reveal that PC Pande did not move out of his office after returning from the Sola Civil Hospital on 28.2.2002; that at the height of the attacks of Naroda Patiya and Gulberg while he sat holed up in his office at Shahibaug, there was a sustained contact between him and the CMO (Fifteen Calls between 11.40 am and the evening) suggesting that A-1 Modi was in the constant know of happenings on the ground). Why did he not budge out from the safety of his chamber? Unlike Rahul Sharma, SP Bhavnagar and Anupam Gehlot, SP Mehsana who risked their lives trying to save lives here was a Commissioner and a Chief Minister who were sitting in the safety of their cabins and offices!!! The criminally culpable conduct of Joint CP Tandon and DCP Gondia was also revealed in that every time they received serious messages to go towards Naroda or Meghaninagar (where Gulberg is located) they moved in opposite directions towards Rewadi Bazar.
Detailed arguments were also made on the failure of the SIT to investigate the absence of proper Relief and Rehabilitation measures despite sharp comments and recommendations from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the National Commission for Minorities and even the Food Commissioner appointed by the Supreme Court. The Central government had to institute special schemes to enhance reparation for those dead and injured due to the failure of the state to fulfill adequate measures.
On the occasion of the fourteenth days of arguments, Desai had read extensively on the deleterious impact of inflammatory articles published in large sections of the Gujarati media (print and electronic) that had instead of being prosecuted been applauded by A-1 Narendra Modi.
Arguments will continue on August 29.
Taizoon Khorakiwala Nandan Maluste Teesta Setalvad
Cyrus Guzder Javed Akhtar
Alyque Padamsee Anil Dharker Ghulam Pesh Imam
Javed Anand Cedric Prakash