July 2, 2011 3:05:19 am
Caught in a bind after its own counsel claimed that all crucial intelligence records related to the 2002 Gujarat riots have been destroyed in 2007,the Narendra Modi government is now preparing to backtrack with a possible official announcement soon that all those destroyed records are,in fact,still intact.
The Modi government has been drawing flak following the announcement of S B Vakil,the state Governments counsel at the GT Nanavati-Akshay Mehta Commission probing the 2002 Godhra Train carnage and subsequent communal riots,on Wednesday that all those documents were destroyed in 2007.
He had gone on to say that senior IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt had said in his affidavit in the Supreme Court that Narendra Modi had instructed officials to let Hindus vent their anger or Muslims after the Godhra train carnage,knowing that his allegation cannot be verified since all relevant records have been destroyed (see box) .
While top bureaucrats scurried for some damage-control on Friday,highly placed Government sources told The Indian Express that the government was very annoyed with Vakils statement.
The sources went on to claim that all relevant records relating to the 2002 riots have been preserved and were also submitted to the inquiry commission and other agencies as and when required. Justice GT Nanavati had refused to say anything about the documents when this newspaper contacted him on Thrsday.
Vakil,when contacted,said he stood by what he had said. I am not open to media cross-examination. But I had specified exactly which records have been destroyed. He said the Government had not not talked to him about the issue.
Balwant Singh,Additional Chief Secretary (Home),said: We are examining the issue. We will soon decide whether to issue an official rejoinder or not. Asked if those records exist,Singh,who heads the state Home department,said: That is the state Intelligence Bureaus lookout. Only they can tell. IGP Sivanand Jha,who heads the state IB,said: I know nothing about this.
Government sources also maintained that representatives of aggrieved parties like advocate Mukul Sinha have also examined these records personally in Ahmedabad Police Commissioners office in 2008 after their alleged destruction in 2007. However,Sinha told this newspaper that the documents he was shown in 2008 were not intelligence records.
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