Destruction of papers: Riots panel orders inquiry

The Nanavati-Mehta Commission Wednesday ordered a high-level inquiry into the alleged destruction of certain intelligence records related to the 2002 riots. The Commission has formed a two-member panel which will also find out the status of some other documents, which are claimed to be either not maintained or are untraceable.

The committee, comprising Additional Director General of Police (Armed Unit) Tirth Raj and Home Secretary M D Antani, has been asked to submit a report within three weeks.

This comes in the wake of an application by suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, demanding independent probe into the alleged destruction of intelligence records that were sought by him.

Bhatt's counsel Somnath Vatsa said, "The Commission has asked the committee to probe if certain documents were maintained or not. It has also ordered the committee to probe as to under what circumstances certain documents were destroyed when the Commission itself was probing the post-Godhra riots. The committee has also been ordered to find out the status of certain documents which have not been traced till date."

Bhatt had sought 47 documents from Gujarat Police to file a detailed affidavit before the Commission related to the alleged roles played by different government functionaries during the riots. However, the government did not provide access to those documents to Bhatt. Subsequently, he approached the Gujarat High Court with a PIL seeking direction to the government to produce those documents before the Commission.

In the PIL, Bhatt had mentioned that the senior counsel of the government, at the relevant time, told the media that some of the documents had been destroyed.

The PIL was disposed of by the HC on October 12 last year after the Advocate General informed the court that the documents were not destroyed and that they would be produced before the Commission within seven days if not done so far.

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