SIT knew about Pandya statement: Setalvad

Haren Pandya, a former minister of state in Gujarat`s BJP government, was shot dead on March 26, 2003.

Ahmedabad: The special investigation team
was aware of the audio recording of the statement of former
Gujarat minister Haren Pandya on Chief Minister Narendra
Modi`s "complacency" in 2002 riots, but never asked for it,
social activist Teesta Setalvad alleged on Monday.

In 2002, a People`s Tribunal headed by retd Justice
Krishna Iyer and comprising of retired justices Hosbet Suresh
and PB Sawant and other members had audio recorded statement
of Pandya on the alleged instructions given by Modi during his
late evening meeting at his residence on February 27, 2002.

"In my statement before the SIT, I had told them about
the audio recorded statement of Pandya, but they have never
asked for it from us," Setalvad told reporters on sidelines of
an event organised by her NGO Citizen for Justice and Peace
(CJP) on the 10th anniversary of Godhra riots.

"It is a legal document, so SIT has to summon it from us.
We cannot give it to SIT on our own," she said.

Earlier, Justice Suresh who was present during the event
told mediapersons, that Pandya had made the statement before
the People`s Tribunal on the condition of confidentiality.

"What he said was very important. When asked why there
was no police action during the riots, Pandya had said that in
the meeting of February 27, 2002 Modi had asked the police not
to take action against the agitators. We had recorded audio of
this statement during our probe," Suresh claimed.

He further said that the panel`s report had also indicted
Pandya for fueling communal violence.

Suresh further said that the tribunal after recording
over 2000 statements from various parts of Gujarat has
submitted all the records to the CJP, which is the present
custodian of it.

Pandya, a former minister of state in Gujarat`s BJP
government, was shot dead on March 26, 2003, near Law Garden
area of the city when he had gone for a morning walk.