The special designated court hearing the 2002 Naroda Gam riots case has directed the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) to file an affidavit clarifying the status of chargesheet and departmental inquiry against former IPS officer Rahul Sharma in connection with the alleged missing CDs containing phone call records of important people, including several accused, during the riots.
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Special Judge P B Desai had passed the order earlier this month. The investigating officer of the SIT is likely to submit its reply on October 27. The court’s directive came after defence lawyer Chetan Shah submitted the copy of the chargesheet issued by the state government against Sharma in 2011.
There are 82 accused in this case who are alleged to have killed 11 persons from the minority community on February 28, 2002. Among the accused are former BJP minister Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi, who were sentenced to life imprisonment in Naroda Patiya massacre case. Kodnani is out on bail.
Sharma was chargesheeted for not handing over CDs of the Call Detail Records (CDR) collected during the 2002 post-Godhra riots to the Detection of Crime Branch, Ahmedabad. While assisting the Detection of Crime Branch, Ahmedabad, in the Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gam cases, Sharma had collected CDRs as part of the evidence.
The CDs became public after Sharma placed them before the Nanavati Commission in 2004 as evidence and later before the UC Banerjee Commission. Last year, an accused in Naroda Gam case had moved an application, seeking arraignment of Sharma as an accused in the case for missing CDs which amounts to destruction of evidence. Following the plea, the SIT had filed its reply, stating that no criminal case can be made out against Sharma in this case.
Following the submissions, the special court had completed the arguments and the order was reserved. Sources said that state was required to send the update on the case against Sharma which will be submitted before the special court.
On the other hand, Sharma had challenged the chargesheet before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) which quashed the chargesheet and criticised the state government for taking action against the whistleblower officer.
The state has challenged the tribunal’s order in the High Court where the matter is pending.