Raghavan arrives at SIT office ahead of SC hearing

Ahmedabad: Chairman of SIT, R K Raghavan, probing the post-Godhra communal riots, today arrived at the agency`s office in Gandhinagar ahead of the April 27 hearing in Supreme Court on the complaint filed by Zakia Jaffery, widow of slain Congress MP Ehsan Jaffery.

Raghavan`s visit assumes significance in the backdrop of a report, supposed to be filed by the SIT by April 25, on whether further probe was required into Zakia`s complaint and the recent affidavit filed by IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt in the apex court.

Zakia, in her complaint, has alleged that Modi and 62 others, including his cabinet colleagues, police officials and senior bureaucrats aided and abetted the riots which left over 1,000 people dead across the state.

She had further alleged that between February and May 2002 there was a "deliberate and intentional failure" of the state government to protect the life and property of innocents.

While Bhatt in his affidavit has accused the SC-appointed SIT of `coercing witnesses`, `hostility`, `cover-up of probe` and `displaying reluctant attitude` in recording of vital information related to the 2002 communal clashes that reportedly claimed 2000 lives.

The 1988-batch IPS officer, who was posted as DCP at the State Intelligence Bureau during the 2002 riots, had also said in the affidavit that he had attended the February 27 meeting called by Chief Minister Narendra Modi where the latter asked officers to be "indifferent" to the rioters.

Bhatt said after facing `unconcealed hostility` by the SIT members he was under apprehension that the agency was part of the cover-up operations with regard to the probe in the riots cases