Two crucial aspects of the probe into the 2002 Gujarat riots have come out in the open. One is the testimony of senior police officer Sanjiv Bhatt alleging that on the eve of the VHP-organised bandh and post-Godhra carnage, chief minister Narendra Modi told top police officers at a meeting to let Hindus vent their anger. An equally significant development, reported first in this newspaper, is the surfacing of police records which were claimed to have been destroyed in the routine course. Though it is coming after nine years, Bhatts revelation of Modis alleged instruction to the police bears scrutiny because it ties in with what was testified earlier by former state intelligence chief RB Sreekumar and assassinated BJP leader and former Gujarat home minister Haren Pandya. If anything, Bhatts allegation has greater value as evidence because, unlike Sreekumar and Pandya, he claims to have been actually present at the meeting addressed by Modi. But then, if he is reduced to depending on his drivers word to bear out his testimony in the face of denials from other officers present in the meeting, it is because of Bhatts own failure to create a contemporaneous record which would have been hard to rebut. There is a lesson in this for all conscientious officials seeking to blow the whistle on the misdeeds of their seniors. In a bid to make up for this gap in evidence, Bhatt was forced to file an affidavit at this stage before the Supreme Court. It was not only to place his testimony on record but also to complain against the alleged cover-up by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the conspiracy angle. Bhatts detailed account of the alleged cover-up by the SIT needs to be taken seriously by the Supreme Court. For, it is the latest in a series of charges made against this special mechanism set up under former CBI director RK Raghavan with a team consisting of serving Gujarat police officers and retired counterparts from outside the state. The SIT is embroiled in such an unsavoury controversy even after the apex courts direction at the last hearing in March to review its clean chit to Modi as its inferences did not tally with its findings. In this season of heightened consciousness about probity in public life, it should be borne in mind that any cover-up of the Gujarat carnage would constitute an egregious form of corruption. Times of India