Ahmedabad, Jun 30: Opposition Congress and lawyers representing riot victims today severely criticized the Gujarat government for destroying crucial State Intelligence Bureau (SIB) records pertaining to the 2002 riots period.
“The records were destroyed to save the truth regarding involvement of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet colleagues,” Gujarat Congress chief Arjun Modhvadia said.
“It is criminal negligence to destroy the records on which cases are pending in the courts, as well as a commission is inquiring in the matter,” he said.
“I demand that an independent inquiry be constituted under the supervision of the Supreme Court in the matter,” he added.
Lawyer Mukul Sinha of the NGO Jan Sangharsh Manch, which represents some of riot victims, said, “It is a terrible thing for the government to do. We had a doubt that they had been destroyed.”
“Since all the allegations were against police officer for inactions and negligence, destruction of SIB records could have serious implications,” he said.
Senior counsel S B Vakil representing the state government in the Nanavati Commission, probing the 2002 riots, had yesterday told reporters that telephone call records, officers' movement registers and vehicle log books of the SIB pertaining to the period of 2002 riots were destroyed in 2007, as per government rules.
Vakil had made this revelation while talking to media-persons after the questioning of IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt was over for the day before the Commission. Now with the records destroyed it would be difficult to prove the allegations against the accused policemen and other political leaders, Sinha said.
“This could also affect judgment in the Godhra train burning case as the phone call records, movement records of police and political leaders prior, during and after the incident are no more,” he added.
Eleven persons were sentenced to death and 20 others awarded life sentence, in connection with the burning of S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express train outside Godhra railway station on February 27, 2002. Sixty three persons were acquitted in the case.
All the convicts have now filed an appeal against the trial court verdict in the Gujarat High Court. PTI