In an affidavit to India's Supreme Court, Senior Indian Police Service Officer Sanjeev Bhatt alleged that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi instructed senior officials not to act to stop Hindus from attacking Muslims when riots broke out in Ahmedabad in 2002 following the burning of a railroad car with 59 Hindu pilgrims trapped inside it.
But that's not all. According to the Economic Times, the new testimony raises a "significant challenge" for the court to review the functioning of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that it appointed to investigate the riots, as Bhatt claims that the SIT did not conduct the probe in earnest. (This is nothing new, following the stark contrast revealed between the "clean chit" reports given officially to the media and the damning leaked SIT report earlier this year).
Adding that Bhatt must be protected diligently lest he meet the same fate as former BJP minister, Haren Pandya, who was murdered after he deposed against Modi to a citizens' tribunal on the Gujarat riots, the paper argues that the court must find an "unbiased" way to investigate the senior police officer's allegations. But even if nothing comes of his claims, ET says Modi will feel the heat:
Regardless of how the judicial process moves, the police officer's affidavit has implications for Mr Modi. Nitish Kumar's refusal to let Mr Modi campaign in Bihar during the assembly elections was a public rebuke and reminder that development success does not make up for political failure of the deathly communal kind. That message gets reinforced by Mr Bhatt's affidavit. It will play out when the BJP selects a leader to succeed the current president Nitin Gadkari and lead the party and its alliance in the general elections of 2014.