Twelfth Day of Arguments in the Zakia Jafri Protest Petition
August 12, 2013
Three serving officers of the Gujarat government in 2002 (Rahul Sharma, then SP Bhavnagar and DCP Crime Branch, Sanjiv Bhatt, then DCP-Int and RB Sreekumar, then ADGP-Int) provided internal, official yet independent information to indicate that a deliberate conspiracy was hatched by A-1 Narendra Modi to manipulate the Godhra incident to allow the statewide orchestration of mass violence against Muslims in 2002 and of the three Sreekumar’s evidence is possibly the most critical.
Arguing for the twelfth day in support of the two volume Protest Petition filed by complainant Zakia Jafri assisted by Citizens for Justice and Peace on April 15, 2013, senior advocate Mihir Desai argued that instead of rationally and independently investigating the substance of the series of illegal instructions alleged to have been given by A-1 Narendra Modi to him and other senior echelons of the administration and police, the SIT had spent over 20 pages of its report in simply arguing that keeping such a conscience register was wrong.
ADGP (Armed Units) until he was made ADGP-Int on April 9 2002 after which he was hurriedly shunted off on September 17-18 2002 for failing to be a compliant officer, Sreekumar had during his tenure as Intelligence chief, contemporaneously, documented not just the deliberate laxity of the chief minister and other cabinet colleagues to restore normalcy, ensure justice and reparation but had in fact in continuance of a diabolic conspiracy, deliberately sought to mislead the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Central Election Commission (CEC) but also actively instructed against officers acting lawfully. Four critical reports were filed by Sreekumar during his tenure as Intelligence chief, dated 24.4.2002, 15.6.2002, 20.8.2002 and 28.2.2002. In the first report he had stated that senior ministers of the government and MLAS were influencing Police Station Inspectors (over and above the authority of their seniors) to obey political masters and not arrest Hindu communal elements who had been named by Victims in the FIRs related to Mass Crimes; he had said that despite warnings of acute tension and violence being fomented on February 27, 2002 after the Godhra incident, only two preventive arrests had been made in Ahmedabad, that compliant public prosecutors were deliberately being appointed by the state government to ensure easy bail for powerful accused and a subversion of the justice system. These reports had been sent by Sreekumar to the Home Department headed by A-1 Modi, Ashok Narayan, ACS Home but were completely ignored by the state government. Ashok Narayan states in his statement recorded by the SIT that though he had spoken in detail to A-1 Modi the chief minister about extortion and violence by BJP-VHP-Bajrang Dal activists as late as April 2002, the CM was dismissive of the same.
The SIT is deliberately silent on the substance of the evidence that Sreekumar has provided through these intelligence reports, said Desai. Fireworks flew at the 11th Metro Court today when Desai read out the statement of Shri Maniram a senior officer in Modi’s government who had completely corroborated what Sreekumar. In his statement dated 18.12.2009, ADGP (Law and Order) till 2003 Maniram (Annexure I Volume I Serial No 66 of SIT Papers) stated that “The communal riots continued during the months of March and April, 2002 in the whole of Gujarat. It was sometime in the first week of May, 2002 that Shri K.P.S. GilI, former DGP of Punjab was appointed as an Adviser to the Chief Minister. Shri K.P.S. Gill held a meeting on 4-5-2002 at C.R.P.F. camp which was attended to by the DGP Shri K. Chakravarthi, Shri P.C. Pande, the then CP, Ahmedabad, Shri R.B. Sreekumar, the then Addl. DG (Int.), Shri M.K. Tandon, Jt. CP, Sector-II, Ahmedabad City and myself whose names, I do not recollect. In this meeting, Shri K.P.S. Gill reviewed Law & Order situation in the State. The DGP and the Commissioner of Police gave their assessments of the current situation as normal due to effective police action and painted a rosy picture about Law & Order situation in the State. I informed Shri Gill that the tension continued to prevail in Ahmedabad City amongst the Hindus and Muslims. I further pointed out to Shri Gill that officers who were responsible for not preventing the riots resulting in loss of life and property in their jurisdiction should be immediately transferred irrespective of their status and good officers posted in there back. I also mentioned it to Shri Gill that wherever effective officers had been posted, the Law & Order situation was under control like whole of Saurasthra, South Gujarat namely Surat City, Naysari, Bharuch, Valsad and Dang districts Shri R.B. Sreekumar, the then Addl. DG, (Int.) fully supported me and endorsed my views. Shortly thereafter, the concerned police officers at all the levels were transferred as a result of which the riots could be controlled in May 2002 itself. “ In a bid to disrupt the arguments in Court, AK Malhotra at this juncture tried to tell the SIT advocate that this was not relevant for the case!!!! This explodes the theory put forward by A-1 Modi and ardently supported by the SIT that within 72 hours all was normal in Gujarat.
Besides, Desai argued that a series of rank shocking and illegal instructions were given by A-1 Modi who instead of being concerned with establishing intra-community harmony and peace was instructing higher echelons of officers to tap the phones of MOS Revenue Haren Pandya (simply because he appeared before the Concerned Citizens Tribunal and deposed about the meeting of February 27, 2002, tapping the phones of political opponents and worst of all “instructions to eliminate Muslim …extremists…” etc etc (List of Instructions are given below). Instead of questioning Modi about the content of the illegal instructions (statement recorded on 27-28.3.2010, argued Desai, SIT had been content to simply ask a formal question about the register. The SIT Closure Report is a cosmetic exercise not worth the paper it is written on said Desai.
The issue being argued by the Complainant, explained Desai is that the Conspiracy and Abetment hatched at the very highest levels of the political hierarchy in Gujarat was hatched by persons in power to ensure that the Conspiracy does not end in a day; that it continues for Months when the violence does not stop and Subversion occurs and this Conspiracy and Abetments by Collaborators Officials includes a refusal by Public Servants to follow the law and instead ensure that the Law is Violated. Pressing home the point, Desai argued that even if Sreekumar had, instead of maintaining a Contemporaneous Conscience Register, deposed about a series of blatantly unlawful and illegal instructions by A-1 Modi to the SIT was not SIT obliged in law to test the facts in trial? Why then does the SIT file a closure report he demanded. Arguments will continue tomorrow.
Illegal Instructions issued by A-1 Modi (as contained in RB Sreekumar’s Conscience Register:
Date & Time
Instruction from whom
The Chief Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, called a meeting of DGP, myself, Shri P.K. Mishra, Principal Secretary to CM, Shri Sharma OSD to CM, etc.
The CM told me that certain Congress leaders, particularly, Shri Shankarsingh Waghela, former Chief Minister is responsible for the continuing communal incidents in Ahmedabad city.
I responded that we (State, SIB) does not have any information to this effect.
Thereupon the CM asked me to start tapping the telephone of Shri Shankarsingh Waghela.
I replied that it will not be legal and ethical as we have no inputs about Shri Shankarsingh’s involvement in any criminal activity or instigation of communal violence or creation of tension between communities.
Shri P.K. Mishra, Principal Secretary to CM also persuaded me for phone tapping of Shankarsingh Waghela.
I refused his personnel demands / entreaties also on legal and moral grounds.
The CM insisted upon repeatedly his earlier instructions regarding arrest of history sheeters in Ahmedabad city for ensuring peace in city.
The CM also wanted to continue combing operations in Muslim dominated areas.
DGP has promised to CM that the needful be done
The CM held a meeting in his chamber, myself, DGP, Shri P.K. Mishra, CS Shri Subba Rao, OSD to CM Shri Sharma attended.
He asked DGP to book a few Muslims leaders, who are likely to disturb the holding of examination on 18/04/2002. CM said such persons be booked for some pending cases under investigation.
DGP said he will try to take all preventive measures to ensure peaceful conduct of examination but he refused to book anybody without any evidence for substantive offences.
The CM wanted me to keep watch on Inspector Y.A. Shaikh, Inspector in CID, Crime, HASAN LALA. Congress Corporator, Congress leader, who are allegedly investigating the Muslims to attack Hindus.
I have promised that the needful be done
Shri Rajendrakumar, JD, SIB, Ahmedabad told me that some Congress leaders are behind the recent communal incidents in Ahmedabad city and we should try to uncover this diabolical link up.
Then, I asked Shri Rajendrakumar about any special intelligence in this connection. To this question, he replied that he has no pin pointed intelligence in the matter.
It appears that JD, SIB, perhaps in pursuance of the CM’s suggestion to involve Congress persons as persons responsible for the continuing riots wants to build up a case against Congress leaders by soliciting intelligence reports.
Secret inquiry is being done
No action due to its illegality.
The Chief Secretary Shri G. SubbaRao convened a meeting to discuss normalization measures. ACS (Home) Shri Ashok Narayan, Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Shri Pannervel, Secretary Varesh Sinha, Shri Sahu, etc. were also present. I raised the problem of the Muslim community not having any faith in the State Administration. I also suggested that the police should arrest soon those Hindu leaders involved in the heinous crimes committed during the recent communal riots. The Chief Secretary said such action is not possible immediately as it is against the State Govt policy.
The CS said that Secretaries should conduct Mohalla level meetings and interact with local people for redressal of their grievances.
Shri Sahu said that the first problem, which is likely to be raised by the locals would be early apprehension of Hindu goons, who massacred the Muslims. The CS replied that in the Mohalla meetings, if such a question is raised by anybody the Secretary should answer that it is a matter of legal procedure and so this Mohalla Committee cannot do anything.
The CS also directed that I should also attend some Mohalla Committee meetings.
I agreed for complying with these instructions.
The Chief Secretary Shri G. SubbaRao convened a meeting at his Conference Room. Secretary level officers Shri Varesh Sinha, Sahu, Agrawal, Shri D.L. Rao, and Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner were present. Myself was sent by DGP as his representive. Shri Ashok Narayan, ACS (Home) was also present.
The Chief Secretary directed that Secretaries should visit riot affected areas and hold Mohalla level meetings for wining the confidence of the local police, particularly the Muslims..
Shri Varaeh Sinha (Education Secretary) said that the Secretaries are busy and so this task should be entrusted to somebody with lesser quantum of work.
The CS did not agree to this request.
Then Secretaries Rao and Varesh Sinha wanted a senior police officer to be detailed as a liaison officer with the Secretary, who is presiding over the meeting.
The CS said that he will direct CP Ahmedabad to detail a senior officer of the rank of DCP to be present in the meetings to be convened by the Secretaries.
The CS asked me also to attend one or two meetings.
Myself and Secretary Sahu raised the issue of high voltage of discontentment in the minds of Muslims community, which bore the brunt of the Hindu goons. We said that unless culprits of the offences, named in the FIR and other statements are arrested, the confidence building measures in the form of Mohall Meetings by Secretary level officers will not have any impact.
The CS evaded this suggestion and said that the arrest being a legal matter the Mohalla Committee should not go in to this.
This response of the CS was reflective of Govt. policy of evading, delaying or soft – pedaling the issue of arrest of accused of persons belonging to Hindu Organizations.
I assured him that I will do the needful.
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