Published On:24 October 2011
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Book Gujarat cops for neglect during riots: Amicus curiae

In another first for communal violence cases, amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran has proposed criminal action against senior police officers for causing death by negligence during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

By Manoj Mitta

New Delhi: It was not just a recommendation for a chargesheet against Narendra Modi, In another first for communal violence cases, amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran proposed criminal action against senior police officers for causing death by negligence during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Responding to reports emanating from the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in Ahmedabad, informed sources in Delhi clarified that the chargesheet recommended by Ramachandran against the chief minister was not for any speeches in the public but on the basis of suspended police officer Sanjiv Bhatt's allegation that he had given anti-Muslim directions to the top brass of Gujarat police on the eve of the post-Godhra mass killings.

According to these sources, the amicus appointed by the Supreme Court said in his July report that Bhatt's allegation could not be brushed aside at this stage merely because the other officers present in that fateful meeting of February 27, 2002 had either pleaded amnesia or denied his very presence at that meeting in Modi's residence. Ramachandran also disagreed with SIT's view that Bhatt could not believe because of his own allegedly controversial record and for the nine-year delay coming up with his disclosure.

The amicus apparently said that Bhatt's testimony deserved to be taken into account by the SIT because the officer could well have been present at the meeting as the sole representative of the intelligence wing and he had anyway explained that the delay was caused by his inability to make any disclosure until he was legally required to reveal what he had gathered in the course of his intelligence work.

Though the amicus did not expressly say that Modi should be chargesheeted on Bhatt's testimony, it was the "necessary implication" of his recommendation that Bhatt and all the officers contradicting him be put in the witness box and subjected to cross examination in order to find out the truth about Modi's instructions to the police. The question of testing the veracity of these witnesses in the course of the trial would not arise, sources pointed out, unless Modi is charge sheeted for his alleged conduct at the meeting.

The report to the Supreme Court containing Ramachandran's independent assessment of the material on record said that on Bhatt's testimony, Modi was prima facie liable to be tried under the following sections of the Indian Penal Code: 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 153B (imputations prejudicial to national integration), 166 (public servant disobeying law with intent to cause injury to others) and 505 (statement provoking public mischief).

In his July report, the amicus curiae also disagreed with the SIT's opinion that senior police officers such as MK Tandon and PB Gondia deserved no more than departmental action for their lapses in preventing or controlling the Gulberg Society massacre. Ramachandran said that there was enough evidence to charge them under Section 304A IPC, which penalizes death caused by negligence.

Sources said that the amicus however agreed with the SIT's conclusion that no criminal action could be taken against Modi for his infamous "kriya pratikriya" statement to a TV channel, invoking Newton's third law as a justification for the government's failure to curb the killings allegedly provoked by the Godhra train massacre.

As for media reports from Ahmedabad that SIT has asked the amicus curiae to appear as a witness in the trial court dealing with the Gulberg case, Ramachandran told TOI on Saturday that he hadn't so far received such a communication, adding "I will cross the bridge when I come to it". There are however indications that Ramachandran might then move the apex court for a clarification that he could not be cited as a witness as he had done no independent investigation and recorded no separate evidence, even when he had visited Ahmedabad under judicial orders to interact with witnesses already examined by SIT.

(Courtesy: The Times of India, October 23, 2011)

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on October 24, 2011. Filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on October 24, 2011. Filed under , , , , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

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