"A very positive step in the right direction," said senior police officer Sanjiv Bhatt when asked for his reaction to the Supreme Court asking the amicus curiae (friend of the court), Raju Ramachandran, to 'independently' find out if there is any evidence of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's involvement in the post-Godhra riots.
Bhatt spoke with rediff.com over the phone.
This comes just a few days after Bhatt, a 1988 IPS officer of the Gujarat cadre, filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that Modi asked the state administration and the law and order machinery to 'let Hindus vent their anger after the Godhra train carnage on the morning of February 27, 2002.'
Incidentally, while the SC asked the amicus curiae to meet witnesses -- most of who are police officers, including Bhatt -- it did not take Bhatt's affidavit on record on the advice of the former.
He has not yet got any intimation from the amicus curiae, Bhatt said.
"No... not yet. No intimations from anyone. I'd really not know if the amicus curiae would call me. It's his discretion and he has to decide," Bhatt said.
When asked if he was upset that the SC did not take his affidavit on record, Bhatt replied it was never his intention in filing the affidavit and he did not expect it to be taken on record as he had mentioned in his affidavit that he was neither a respondent nor petitioner.
"See, I was not a party before the Supreme Court; I was neither a petitioner nor a respondent and the covering letter of my affidavit clearly states that I am a serving IPS officer; I am not a party to the proceedings but there are some things that I think I should bring to the notice of the SC. So that is how it is," he said in response to why he filed such an affidavit amid allegations from the Gujarat counsel that he was doing it for publicity.
Reacting to the removal of his security cover once again, the senior IPS officer said, "It (the Gujarat government) is very fickle-minded. Kyun karte hai nahi pata (I don't know why they are doing this). It (harassing me) could be their intention; it could be their thought process, reflective of their pettiness. But I am not at all harassed."
However, he reiterated that being a senior IPS officer having served sensitive assignments, he understands threat perceptions. And they mainly come from people from the Hindu right wing who, he thinks, are antagonised by his SC affidavit against Modi.
"See, the threat assessment has to be done by a professional agency but as an IPS officer who has spent 24 years in the police, served in the Intelligence Bureau and someone who has been responsible once for the security arrangement of the CM, I understand threat perceptions. But it is portrayed in the media that I am someone who is coming out with things to get to the chief minister. Now this would antagonise so many people, especially the right wing Hindu groups, including, obviously, the chief minister," he said.