Mystery of missing Police records

If Modi really had a clear conscience, and nothing to hide, why would his Government show unusual haste in destroying crucial records from the riots period, while many cases were still sub judice?

Why would some of the records reappear miraculously within a month of Supreme Court talking of starting an action?

2010 SIT report mentioned that it was told records from 2002 had been destroyed. On page 13, the report states:

Though, this enquiry had the mandate of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, several difficulties/constraints were experienced in the enquiry, some of which are given below
(1) The police wireless messages for the year 2002 were not made available by the Govt of Gujarat as the same had been reportedly destroyed

(2) No record/documentation/minutes of the crucial law & order meetings held by Govt. during the riots had been kept

(3) Some of the public servants who had retired long time back, claimed loss of memory as they did not want to get involved in any controversy…”

However, some of the Police records, mysteriously reappeared on Apr 23, 2011.[2]

This was soon, and only after Supreme Court asked SIT to investigate the charges of destruction of records further in March 2011! This reappearance itself was also hidden from everyone initially and only communicated by SIT chief to one of the activists during a discussion on further action over missing records.(?!)

“In a curious but potentially far-reaching development, PC Pande, who was commissioner of Ahmedabad during the 2002 carnage, is learnt to have submitted over 3,000 pages of scanned copies of those records before the Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team (SIT).

This change followed the Supreme Court’s order on March 15 directing the SIT, headed by former CBI director RK Raghavan, to conduct a further probe on the alleged complicity of the Narendra Modi administration in the riots because of a mismatch between its findings and inferences.

Pande, like other officials, had earlier maintained before the SIT that many of the police records were unavailable as they had ostensibly been destroyed due to the passage of time. The officials could never give a plausible explanation for not preserving the documents that could have a vital bearing on the criminal investigations, trial proceedings and judicial inquiries related to the 2002 violence.”

And, even more curiously, the police records turned up in the hands of PC Pande, who had served as Ahmedabad Police Commissioner during the time of the riots, but had subsequently retired. Precisely how this important bit of evidence turned up in the hands of a retired bureaucrat hasn’t been sufficiently explained.

There was also case for the SIT to have taken action against Pande for withholding evidence from a Supreme Court-appointed commission, as he had previously claimed these had been destroyed.

The final 2012 SIT report does NOT question any of these aspects, which is clearly very unusual and suspicious. These were reported to be “3,000 pages of scanned copies of those records”, and SIT does not say anything about having verified them for authenticity or indeed completeness.

A few months later, in June 2011, Gujarat attorney general SB Vakil informed the Nanavati commission that Police call records of the 2002 period had been destroyed.[1]

Government lawyer SB Vakil told the Nanavati panel probing the riots that some records relating to the riots had been destroyed according to the rules.

“As per general government rules, the telephone call records, vehicle logbook and the officers’ movement diary are destroyed after a certain period,” Mr Vakil was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India news agency.

Again, there is no demand for an explanation, or prosecution by Nanavati commission for the destruction of these crucial records.

It is said that “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence!”. But, isn’t destruction of evidence, an evidence of Malafide intent, and possibly guilt ?

References:

  1. Gujarat riots records ‘destroyed’ – BBC, 30 June 2011
  2. ‘Destroyed’ Guj riots records suddenly resurface, Apr 23 2011
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