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Nanavati-Mehta panel allows cross-examination of Sanjiv Bhatt

Monday May 09, 2011 09:37:17 PM, IANS

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Gandhinagar: The Nanavati-Mehta Commission, probing the 2002 Godhra train carnage and the subsequent riots, Monday permitted the NGO Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM) to cross-examine Gujarat police officer Sanjeev Bhatt who filed an affidavit alleging Chief Minister Narendra Modi's indirect involvement in the communal violence.

The court allowed the NGO to cross-examine Bhatt on May 16.

JSM, which has been representing the 2002 riot victims before the commission had moved an application seeking to cross examine Bhatt in connection with the role played by Modi during the riots. Devang Vyas, counsel for the state, opposed the application claiming that JSM has no right to cross examine Bhatt.

However, counsel for JSM, Mukul Sinha contended that the government should support cross examination rather than registering protest.

The justices (retired) G.T. Nanavati and Akshay Mehta probe panel after hearing them allowed JSM's plea.

Bhatt, in an affidavit filed before the apex court, had alleged that the chief minister had instructed top state officials to allow people 'to vent their anger' after the Feb 27, 2002, Godhra train burning in which 59 Kar Sevaks were killed. The apex court had recently refused to take the affidavit on record in proceedings of a petition moved by Zakia Jaffri, widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jaffri, in connection with the Gulberg Society massacre case. Jaffri was among those killed during the Gulberg society rioting in Ahmedabad.

Before the commission, JSM claimed that deposition of Bhatt would be very important and material evidence on deciding the role and conduct of Modi and others.

The probe panel has summoned Bhatt on May 16 to examine his claims that he was part of the emergency meeting held on Feb 27, 2002 at the residence of the chief minister.





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