Ahmedabad: With suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt and his one-time senior R B Sreekumar, both part of the anti-Narendra Modi camp, locked in a war of words over the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat, the former on Thursday proposed a ceasefire in "the larger interest of justice".

"I am deeply distressed and utterly baffled by your sudden and repeated display of bitter hostility," Bhatt on Thursday said in a letter addressed to the ex-DGP.

"Sir, it is my firm belief and conviction that internecine fratricide will not only provide the much needed succour to the diabolical ghouls in power but will also irreparably subvert the cause of justice in Gujarat... a lofty cause that is indubitably very dear to many of us," he said in the letter.

It would be entirely appropriate and prudent to remind ourselves of the sheer enormity and importance of Herculean responsibility that providence has placed upon us, Bhatt added.

"I request you to join me in my solemn resolution of refraining from gratuitous and self-defeating acts of internecine fratricide," the suspended IPS officer said.

Former top cop Sreekumar on Wednesday alleged that Bhatt maintained silence for over nine years on the post-Godhra riots due to an "ulterior motive" and for "avoiding clash of interests with the state government".

Sreekumar in his missive to the suspended IPS officer also accused him of "manipulating" and "suppressing" information after the latter had on Wednesday accused the ex-DGP of contradicting his own statements made before the Nanavati Commission, which is probing the communal violence.

The verbal duel between the two started when Sreekumar submitted a letter to the judicial panel on Tuesday, raising questions over Bhatt's integrity for speaking up against the Modi government after almost nine years of the riots.

In the letter, Sreekumar had said that in 2002 he had asked Bhatt, who was DCP (Intelligence) here during the riots, to file an affidavit before the panel but he had not done so.

A similar request by the state DGP in 2004 was also not acted upon by Bhatt.

Reacting to Sreekumar's charge, Bhatt in his letter addressing the former top cop accused him of "disregarding" many important information available with SIB while filing affidavits before the two-member Nanavati Commission.

In a reply to Bhatt's letter, Sreekumar yesterday said, "You claimed you were (then) ADGP G C Raiger's staff officer, you were duty bound to file an affidavit...but you deliberately avoided. In my view, you have taken the stand for avoiding any clash of interests with the Government."

"What prevented you from filing an affidavit then?...Similar action was reportedly taken by (IPS officer) Shri Rahul Sharma. Does your prolonged silence owes its genesis to some ulterior motive hitherto unknown to people?" Sreekumar had sought to know from Bhatt, who earlier this year alleged Modi's complicity in the riots broke out in the aftermath of
the Godhra train carnage.
   
Sreekumar had further said being Bhatt's senior he had asked him to file affidavit to which the latter turned a deaf ear to.

"There is absolutely no need for any direction from the (Nanavati) Commission or any judicial body to anybody for filing an affidavit. You know that you had suo motu filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court (in Zakia Jaffery's case)," he said.
   
Accusing Bhatt of 'manipulating' information, Sreekumar alleged he conveniently suppressed order of then DGP K Chakravarthi directing all commissioners of police, ADGP CID (Crime and Intelligence) ADGP (Intelligence), SPs and all range in-charge officers to file affidavits before the panel.

(Agencies)