NEW DELHI, April 22 (IANS): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Friday questioned the reliability of the affidavit filed by a senior Gujarat police officer accusing Chief Minister Narendra Modi of complicity in the 2002 riots as the Congress went into attack mode, saying the BJP should have compelled its chief minister to resign.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) said that action should be taken against Modi.
Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley questioned the reliability of the affidavit filed by Sanjiv Bhatt in the apex court and said the issue should be left to the judicial mechanism to decide upon.
"An affidavit is filed by a police officer, there is no presumption that it is truthful. The job for investigating the truth has been entrusted by the Supreme Court to a Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the court. There are numerous people in Gujarat who are actively working and are involved in the exercise of discovery of falsehood whenever an SIT report is expected or a Supreme Court hearing is expected," said Jaitley.
"You find these things planted in the media or an affidavit leaked in the media. I would appeal to the media that you and I cannot be the judge of all things. There is a judicial mechanism looking into it. Let us leave it to the judicial mechanism only," said the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha.
Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said the BJP should have compelled Modi to resign and subjected him to the rigors of the judicial process.
Tewari said it is "no dark secret that the Gujarat government was squarely involved" in post-Godhra communal violence in the state that left over 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, dead.
Bhatt has accused Modi of wanting to teach Muslims "a lesson" after the Godhra train burning in which 59 Hindus were killed. Most of the dead in the Sabarmati train burning were Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists, returning from Ayodhya.
Tewari said those who shower praise on Modi should read the affidavit filed by Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt and feel for the relatives of those who were "slaughtered at the behest of the state government".
However, he added that his remarks were not aimed at an individual.
Asked about the police officer not having conveyed his position to the Special Investigation Team looking into the case, Tewari said he was not going into motivation of an individual.
He said BJP had brazenly defended the chief minister instead of making him resign.
"If it (BJP) had an iota of morality, it would have compelled the Gujarat chief minister to resign and subjected him to rigours of judicial process," Tewari said.
CPI-M leader Basudeb Acharia said that the party had always been saying that Modi had sought to justify failures of his government in the post-Godhra violence.
"NDA (National Democratic Alliance) leaders including L.K. Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpayee did not speak against Modi... So many years have passed. Action should be taken against him," Acharia told IANS.