`Ex-Guj Min spoke of Modi complicity in riots`

Late Haren Pandya had said to former HC judge that Modi had allegedly directed the police to give Hindus a free hand to vent their anger during the riots.

Last Updated: Feb 17, 2012, 22:41 PM IST

Ahmedabad: In fresh problems for Narendra
Modi, a member of people`s tribunal that visited Gujarat after
2002 riots said former Home Minister Haren Pandya had told
them that the Chief Minister allegedly directed the police to
give Hindus a free hand to vent their anger during the riots.

Justice H Suresh, a retired Bombay High Court judge, also
alleged on Friday that the Supreme Court-appointed Special
Investigation Team (SIT) appears to have ignored the
statements recorded by it of him and another Tribunal member
Justice PB Sawant, a former Supreme Court judge.

Both the judges were members of the fact-finding team
headed by veteran jurist and former Supreme Court judge
Justice VR Krishna Iyer, which had gone to Gujarat in
March-April 2002 after the post-Godhra riots.

Suresh said the evidence of the tribunal given to SIT
on alleged instructions given to police by Modi to teach
Muslims a lesson hours after the Godhra train attack was based
on what was told to them by Pandya on May 13, 2002. Pandya was
murdered on March 26, 2003.

Suresh said the Tribunal had an audio recording of
Pandya`s statement to it in which he said Modi had called a
meeting on the night of February 27 hours after the Godhra
train attack where he allegedly told the police to look the
other way during the riots.

"In that (the recording) he (Pandya) has stated that
there was a meeting at chief Minister`s place, where he
directed the police what to do and what not to do. He told the
police actually that they should give free hand to the Hindus,
who would act in their own way," Justice Suresh said to a news agency.

He said Pandya`s statement was relevant and "cannot be
ignored" in a court of law.

"I was there, Justice Sawant was there and he(Pandya)
said this in our presence," the former judge said, adding "the
SIT recorded out statements".

He also said that the tribunal had given the SIT the
audio recording of Pandya.

The SIT last week submitted its final report to a local
court on its probe into allegations of Modi`s involvement in
the riots here and it is believed to have given a clean chit
to the Chief Minister.

The probe by SIT followed a complaint by Zakia Jafri,
whose husband and former Congress MP Ehsaan Jafri was among
the 69 persons killed in the Gulberg Housing Society riots.

Suspended IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt in an affidavit to
the Supreme Court has also alleged that Modi at a meeting had
asked police to allow Hindus to show their rage against the
Muslims.

To a question whether their evidence would not be seen
as based on "hearsay" and whether it would be admissible in
the court of law, Justice Suresh said "his(Pandya) statement
should have some relevance which the court could consider, not
that it has to be totally ignored."

"All circumstances indicate what must have happened," he
said.

The SIT had been appointed by the Supreme Court to
investigate some of the post-Godhra riot cases.

The former judge said that Ehsaan Jafri, who was killed
in the riots, had made number of calls including to the chief
Minister and chief Minister allegedly did nothing.

PTI