15, Mar 2010
The First set of 161 statements recorded by SIT officials in May-June 2008 at its specially appointed premises in Gandhinagar. Four months later the investigating officer (IO), JM Suthar, appointed by Ashish Bhatia, summoned some of the witnesses to another location, the Special Operations Group (SOG) office in Juhapura. Complaints were made to higher echelons of SIT in this regard.
On an examination of the SIT charge sheet it has been found that the September 2008 date was used by SIT deputed IO to concoct 161 statements that entirely water down the first set of statements recorded by SIT. When the crucial eyewitnesses began deposing before the trial court from November 2, 2009 onwards, each one of them denied ever having recorded a second statement. A close scrutiny of the testimonies of witnesses in the Gulberg massacre case reveals that the investigation by the SIT (aimed to weaken its own prosecution case) has been torn to shreds. This too was pointed out to the Supreme Court in 2009-2010.
Public Prosecutor RK Shah’s resignation letter dated February 25, 2010 states this let down by SIT clearly:
“All the while Mr. Bhatia (Ashish Bhatia Member of SIT) insisted upon to see that the victim eye-witnesses should depose according to their statements before SIT. It may please be seen that the witnesses speak as per their first statement before SIT but they disown their further statements which I find to be damaging to the prosecution and at times wiping out their first statements. I fail to understand why such further statements were required to be recorded which no witness would admit particularly when they have engaged a private lawyer. “ This Letter was shown to Hon SC on 15.3.2010.
Credit: Sabrangindia https://sabrangindia.in/indepth/gulberg-massacre-tortuous-journey-justice?page=2