Thoughts on economics and liberty

Why did Sanjiv Bhatt provide his evidence in 2009 – seven years after the event?

I've come across a person on FB who insists that by Sanjiv Bhatt not providing evidence to the justice system "in time", his intent is now in question:

"No sane person, unless motivated by his own vested reasons, would keep secrecy just to follow the rules, particularly when he became fully privy to such information divulging and/or acting on which promptly would have potentially saved hundreds of lives. Or at least brought the guilty to book without such unacceptable lapse of time. Justice delayed is justice denied, and he could have easily gone to the court with the information he had without sitting silent until called to provide evidence"

I pointed out to this person the DRACONIAN limitations imposed on public servants in India, but clearly the public in India are not aware of these limitations and how public servants are basically sworn to SECRECY right through their life – and even after retirement.

The fact that I talk openly about Hiteswar Saikia's corruption now (and can readily talk about many other senior officers and ministers) is because I not only resigned from the IAS but LEFT INDIA. Public servants live in constant fear in India – that disclosing the truth about the government can and them in trouble.

Here is the rule that applies to Sanjiv Bhatt regarding what he can say or not say in the case of a matter that might implicate the government:

8. Evidence before committees, etc.—
8(1) Save as provided in sub-rule (3), no member of the Service shall except with the previous sanction of the Government, give evidence in connection with any inquiry conducted by any person, committee or other authority.
8(2) Where any sanction has been accorded under sub-rule (1) no member of the Service giving such evidence shall criticize the policy or any action of the Central Government or of a State Government.
8(3) Nothing in this rule shall apply to—
8(3) (a) evidence given at any inquiry before an authority appointed by the Government, or by Parliament or by a State Legislature; or
8(3) (b) evidence given in any judicial inquiry; or
8(3) (c) evidence given at departmental inquiry ordered by any authority subordinate to the Government.
8(4) No member of the Service giving any evidence referred to in sub-rule (3) shall give publicity to such evidence.

This is a highly constraining rule. The Official Secrets Act is even more constraining. The laws are EXTREMELY constraining regarding ANY matter that may be deemed to be a criticism of government.

Now, read the following from an affidavit filed by Sanjiv Bhatt on 25 April 2012 with the National Commission for Minorities.

I was posted as the Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence, State Intelligence Bureau, Gandhinagar, from December 1999 to September 2002. As the Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence with the State Intelligence-Bureau, I used to look after all the matters pertaining to the Internal Security of Gujarat; including matters pertaining to the Border Security, Coastal Security, and Security of Vital Installations in Gujarat as also matters pertaining to VVIP Security, including the security of the Chief Minister. I was also designated as the Nodal Officer for sharing of intelligence with various Central Agencies and the Armed Forces of the Union of India. This was the post I was occupying at the time when the 2002 Gujarat Riots took place.

I respectfully state that owing to the post I was occupying in the State Intelligence Bureau, I came across huge amounts of intelligence and information pertaining to the events that had transpired prior to, as well as during the Gujarat Riots of 2002. By virtue of the office held by me during the said period, I had the occasion to frequently interact with various high-level functionaries of the State and the Union of India and was therefore, privy to a plethora of information including some very sensitive information pertaining to the various acts of commission and omission attributable to certain high ranking functionaries of the State. The information and documentary evidence, which I have already shared with the SIT, can throw light on the real nature of events that led to the incident of burning of the S6 Coach of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra on 27th February 2002 and the larger conspiracy and official orchestration behind the subsequent Gujarat Riots of 2002.

It may kindly be appreciated that I was privy to the said information in my capacity as an officer serving with the Intelligence Bureau, therefore, I was constrained to maintain confidentiality and could not have disclosed information of such sensitive nature, unless, called upon to do so under a binding legal obligation. Accordingly, on being summoned by SIT for the first time in November 2009, I had provided the SIT with certain relevant information and documents, including original floppy discs containing the entire cell phone/cell-site records of Godhra Town for 26th and 27th February 2002; as well as the original print-outs of very important call records of certain high-ranking functionaries of the State for 27th and 28th February 2002. It may kindly be noted that I have deposed before the SIT on several occasions and have endeavored to assist the SIT to the best of my ability. As conveyed to the SIT in November 2009, and even during subsequent interactions, I was present at the meeting called by the Chief Minister on the late night of 27.2.2002 and was personally aware about the instructions given in the meeting and the events that transpired thereafter. I had also provided the SIT with verifiable details regarding the on-going cover up operation; including the contemporaneous efforts made by high officials of the State administration to undermine the proceedings of Writ Petition (Civil) No. 221 of 2002., which was pending .before the Hon'ble Supreme Court in 2002. I have time and again tried to bring these facts to the notice of the Special Investigation Team but they seem to be disinclined to follow-up these important leads in the course of the enquiry/investigation being carried out by them.

I have no doubt that Sanjiv Bhatt was following the REQUIREMENTS imposed on all public servants, by not going out of the way to raise matters with the judicial system or media.

On the other hand, he did provide a lot of information within the government to his seniors regarding Modi's crimes. For example, a CRITICAL report that Modi is blocking from public release. Modi is also not releasing KEY REGISTERS of despatch of faxes that would readily confirm the authenticity of Sanjiv Bhatt's fax message/s.

So Sanjiv Bhatt, who was totally keeping all information secret TILL SUMMONED BY SIT, is now facing the wrath of Modi. The entire machinery of government has been set upon him.

In brief, I have NO ISSUES whatsoever with delayed reporting by Sanjiv Bhatt about key information that he was privy to, as part of his role, to various public inquiries/judicial system.

That thereafter SIT has done nothing with that evidence is a separate matter – strongly indicative of the destruction of the justice system by Modi.

I believe the Conduct Rules need to be reformed to allow for proper whistleblowing in such cases.

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Sanjeev Sabhlok

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