//BJP wants riots tapes kept away from public

BJP wants riots tapes kept away from public

Rathin Das, Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad, August 21, 2006

The BJP has opposed the analysis of two CDs containing the cellphone call details of state's ministers, VHP and Bajrang Dal activists, and top police officers during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

On Monday, in a submission to the Nanavati-Shah panel probing the Godhra train inferno and the riots afterwards, the BJP said the CDs had no relevance as they only indicated calls received and made, and did not contain conversation between persons.

It was the first time the BJP had officially moved an application before the panel opposing the demand for an analysis of the CDs.

Ever since IPS officer Rahul Sharma submitted the CDs (in 2004) to the panel, advocates representing the BJP and VHP have been arguing that the computerised records of the calls between rioters, police officers, ministers and Sangh Parivar leaders do not signify any nexus. The argument: the handsets could have been in the possession of their children or wives at that particular moment.

Earlier this month, the panel had asked the state government's counsel to suggest a list of agencies which could analyse the CDs. On Monday, the government's counsel suggested that the cyber-crime branch of the State Forensic Science Laboratory (SFL) be entrusted with the job.

The commission has now asked the Gujarat government to submit within a week a list of FSL officers who are competent to analyse the contents of the CDs.

Advocate Mukul Sinha of the Jan Sangharsh Manch, which had asked for the CDs to be analysed, demanded that certain IPS officers be summoned again for cross-examination in view of the expanded terms of reference of the panel.