Modi Government Targets Whistleblowers
IPS officers who have given evidence to investigative agencies, exposing the Gujarat Government and state machinery’s role in the 2002 genocide of Muslim minorities and in several fake encounters, are being victimized by the Modi regime.
Earlier, IPS Sanjiv Bhatt, a senior Intelligence officer in the state, had told the Supreme Court that the SIT appointed to investigate the communal violence, ignoring his offer to provide evidence, has instead leaked information about his testimony to the Government (Liberation June 2011). Bhatt’s affidavit in the Supreme Court has stated that he attended a meeting at Modi’s home, in which the CM had instructed the police and administration to “let Hindus vent their anger” against the Godhra incident – a clear signal to allow a free hand to communal violence. Bhatt was suspended on August 8 with immediate effect on the grounds that his conduct was unbecoming of an IPS officer, citing various flimsy charges.
Rahul Sharma, who had been Deputy Commissioner of Police in the Police Control Room in 2002, is another IPS officer to be victimized. In 2004 he had submitted CDs of call records between the police, politicians and Sangh Parivar members during the 2002 riots to the Nanavati Commission. The Modi Government issued a show cause notice to him asking him who gave him permission to hand over the records, which show that BJP and Sangh leaders were on the phone with police, issuing directions to ensure that no action was taken to protect Muslims. The Gujarat Government claimed the call records provided by Sharma are doctored. Sharma sought documents under RTI to reply to the showcause notice, but was not provided the documents. He filed a writ petition in the Gujarat HC asking why documents were not given to him, but the HC rejected the petition. Now the Gujarat Government has chargesheeted Sharma.
Sharma had been Superintendent of Police in Bhavnagar in February 2002. His affidavit told the Nanavati Commission that a senior Minister in the Modi Government, Gordhan Zadafia, had contacted him to tell him that the ‘ratio’ of deaths in his district was not good. Zadafia was referring to the fact that in Bhavnagar, the number of Hindus killed in police firing on rioters was more than that of Muslim victims of the riots! Sharma was transferred from Bhavnagar to Ahmedabad soon after, when he refused to release BJP activists accused of arson on a local mosque.
The third IPS officer to face victimization is DIG Rajneesh Rai. Rai was responsible for the arrests of IPS officers DG Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandian and Dinesh MN from Rajasthan in the Sohrabbudin Sheikh fake encounter case. He was later transferred from CID Crime to the Crime Records Bureau, and the investigation turned over to Geeta Johri. DGP PC Pande downgraded Rai’s ACR (annual confidential report) this year, with an adverse remark that he failed to keep his superiors informed about investigations in sensitive cases. Rai complained to the Central Administrative Tribunal, stating that former state DGP PC Pande conspired to kill Tulsi Prajapati (a key eyewitness in the Sohrabuddin fake counter) in 2006 and that former Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah is influencing the investigations in the fake encounter cases. The Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram cases are now being probed by the CBI as ordered by the Supreme Court. Rai also named another retired IPS officer OP Mathur, who was additional DG (CID crime), as having asked Rai to not make any fresh notings in the Sohrabuddin case.
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram hinted that the Centre might take action if any of the police officers approached them. The BJP in turn accused Chidambaram of threatening federal structures and encouraging “indiscipline in police officers who were working to destabilize the state government.” In the past, the Congress Government at the Centre has used the communal violence and fake encounter cases in Gujarat as a bargaining chip – to put pressure on the BJP and make it toe the line in times when it threatens to challenge the Central Government.
This kind of ‘shadow-boxing’ will not do. The matter calls for the dismissal of the Gujarat Government and Chief Minister, to ensure that they do not succeed in their plans to destroy evidence and sabotage the investigations into the cases of state-sponsored genocide of minorities and fake encounters.