High Court asks govt to show orders to destroy riots papers

The Gujarat High Court on Thursday directed the state government to produce the executive orders through which certain intelligence documents related to 2002 riots were destroyed.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala, which passed the order, has kept the matter for further hearing on February 5.

The court was hearing a petition moved by the state's chief secretary seeking clarification on an earlier order passed by the court on the basis of a statement by the advocate general that the documents were not destroyed and would be handed over to the Nanavati-Mehta Commission. The Commission is probing into the 2002 post-Godhra riots.

The order was passed on a petition jointly moved by suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt and a voluntary organisation seeking direction to the state government to provide him the documents. The petition was moved after Bhatt was not provided with the papers to file a detailed affidavit before the Commission.

Surprisingly, after disposal of the petition at HC, the state government had made a statement on affidavit before the Commission that nine of the documents sought by Bhatt had indeed been destroyed in routine course as per rules. Bhatt had taken strong objection against this and had sought an independent probe into the entire episode of destroying of the documents before the Commission. The Commission has already ordered a high-level probe by two senior officers.

Meanwhile, the state government moved a fresh petition seeking clarification on the HC order.

According to the state government, the advocate general's statement that the documents were not destroyed was based on a briefing given by a home ministry official, who made a bonafide mistake. The government claimed the documents were destroyed by the department concerned.

Hearing the petition Thursday, the court ordered the state government to produce the necessary executive orders that resulted in destroying of the documents, said a lawyer associated with the petition.

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