Gujarat riots: cop in trouble over call records
Gujarat police officer Rahul Sharma passed on information to a panel probing the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Gandhinagar: After Sanjiv Bhatt, it is now the turn of another senior Gujarat police officer, Rahul Sharma, to face the music. He is being hauled up for passing on, without official clearance, information to a panel probing the 2002 Gujarat riots.
The proposed action against him was cleared at the highest level in the state, sources said in Gandhinagar on Thursday.
Posted as Deputy Inspector General (DIG), armed units, with its headquarters in Rajkot, Sharma is set to be chargesheeted for violation of the Official Secrets Act(OSA).
Sharma is being chargesheeted for passing on, without government permission, information to the Nanavati judicial inquiry commission probing the 2002 Godhra train carnage and the statewide communal riots that followed.
Sharma was posted as the district superintendent of police in Bhavnagar during the 2002 riots and it was his prompt action that ensured that the district and town remained unscathed. He was immediately transferred thereafter to the police control room in Ahmedabad.
In May 2002, he was ordered to assist the investigations into the Naroda Patia massacre case in Ahmedabad wherein he collected the call data for all key numbers during the period of rioting.
He was subsequently transferred. This data, in hindsight, has proved to be damning evidence of the call traffic between key elements who led the riots, including political leaders and those in important positions in the state government as well as the police.
It was essentially the call records and its analysis backed by eyewitnesses that led the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) to nail former minister Maya Kodnani and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) general secretary Jaydeep Patel in 2009.
Sharma had handed over copies of CDs of the call records to the Nanavati panel when he was summoned to depose before it.
He was issued a show cause notice in February this year asking why action should not be taken for handing over the CDs to the inquiry panel without government permission.
Earlier this week, Sanjiv Bhatt was suspended from service by the state government. He had shot into the limelight when he filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court claiming he was present at a meeting summoned by Chief Minister Narendra Modi at his residence on the night after the Godhra train carnage, where the signal for action against Muslims was allegedly given.