By Kartikeya Tanna on Sep 6, 2013
Earlier today, a PTI report stated that the lawyer of the Special Investigation Team appointed by the Supreme Court to probe 2002 Gujarat riots argued that Sanjiv Bhatt forged evidence to malign the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the Gujarat Government. Advocate RS Jamuar told Metropolitan Magistrate BJ Ganatra that Bhatt had forged many messages through which he claims he alerted Modi’s office of impending situation in 2002.
In a letter written by Bhatt to the SIT on May 16, 2012, he attaches some of them. Page 19 of his letter contains a message dated February 27, 2002 allegedly written by him to “PS to CM Gandhinagar” and others (Sub: D-2/2-COM/ALERT/100/2002) alerting of “widespread retributory communal violence”.
He relies on this message to assert that he attended the meeting held by Modi at his residence on the night of February 27, 2002. SIT claims this message is forged. On a closer inspection, it does look like the SIT is correct.
This message bears the initials of OP Mathur, the then IGP (Intelligence).
There are two things noteworthy about this message. First, the message is not marked to ADGP (Intelligence) by OP Mathur as was the prevalent practice. Bhatt writes in his letter to the SIT (on page 5) that Mathur should have marked the message to ADGP (Intelligence) and suggests that Mathur may have forgotten to do so.
Although forgetting something like this is extremely rare, let us assume that Mathur did forget to mark the message to his superior.
The second point, however, is Mathur’s initial (‘M’ with 27/2 at the left bottom) look markedly different from his initials on another message dated that very night, i.e., February 27, 2002. That other message is reproduced by Bhatt on page 14 of his letter. This one is a poorly scanned message in Gujarati informing “PS to CM Gandhinagar” and others of more or less the same things he mentions in the English version. Notice OP Mathur’s initial in this letter very carefully.
A closer inspection shall reveal two differences. First, the Gujarati version is marked to the ADGP (Intelligence) unlike the English version. Readers shall see the notings on the left-bottom. How and why OP Mathur would mark the message to the ADGP (Intelligence) in the Gujarati version and not the English version despite it being created on the same day is not known.
Second, there is a very notable difference between the style of Mathur’s initials in both. A side-by-side comparison of the two initials extracted from the two letters is attached here:
The small loop in the beginning of the M initial in the English version is not there in the M initial in the Gujarati version. Moreover, the initial in Gujarati version is markedly more circular than the straightly toned M in the English version.
One can argue that even if the English version is forged and created later by Bhatt, the Gujarati version at least contains markings to the ADGP. That message conveys similar warnings to the CM and could be genuine, one might say.
Possible. However, it is useful to point out a couple of important things. First, while the message may well be genuine, there is one key fact mentioned in the English version which is not there in the Gujarati one – the law & order meeting held at the CM’s residence on the night of February 27, 2002 which Bhatt claims he attended.
The Gujarati version could, therefore, have been typed out during the day much before the meeting at CM’s residence as a routine matter. That message, even if genuine, does not lend credence to Bhatt’s extremely suspect claim which has been thrashed by the SIT.
The SIT lawyer refers to one more chicanery by Bhatt. Bhatt had claimed that former MoS Haren Pandya had also attended the law & order review meeting at Modi’s residence. Interestingly, in order to support his claim that Pandya had attended the meeting, he conferred with another anti-Modi IPS officer Rahul Sharma to verify where exactly Pandya was on that night. Indeed, it turns out, as even the Amicus Curiae has pointed out, Pandya’s call records showed he was in Ahmedabad at the time of the meeting!
Sadly for Bhatt, mobile call records have even nailed one of his own lies. Bhatt had also claimed that he was present at the meeting held at CM’s residence on the next day, February 28, 2002, at 10:30 am. However, his mobile phone records reveal that he was in Ahmedabad till at least 10:57 am and he could not have reached Gandhinagar until 11:30 am.
NitiCentral has accessed a copy of his mobile phone records (attached below). The relevant portion is marked with an asterisk and an arrow on the right.
While Sanjiv Bhatt’s trickery is by now well-known, he continues to be for some a hero and a brave officer who took on the mighty Modi Government. It makes for a good story – perhaps even a movie (his fan Mahesh Bhatt, who lit a candle in his support, may oblige). Sadly, for both Bhatts, Sanjiv’s greatest defeat is his redundancy and how his political patrons discarded him in the most uncharitable manner.