Nanavati panel refuses to cross examine Zadafia

Last Updated: Monday, September 27, 2010 - 19:09

Ahmedabad: The Nanavati Commission probing
the 2002 Gujarat riot cases today rejected the application of
an NGO seeking a direction to summon former minister of state
for home Gordhan Zadafia for cross-examination.

The Commission, however, issued orders summoning IPS
officer R J Savani, who was DCP Zone 5 during the riots.

The NGO Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM) in its application had
sought summoning of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi,
Ashok Bhatt, Zadafia and Savani.

Since the JSM did not press for summoning Modi and
Bhatt, the Commission, comprising retd Justices G T Nanavati
and Akshay Mehta, did not pass any order with regard to the
two BJP leaders.

JSM had contended that it would press for calling Modi
and Bhatt only after the subordinate staff and other ministers
are examined.

The Commission also rejected another application of
JSM to summon three officials of Modi`s office.

While rejecting the plea to summon Zadafia, the
Commission observed, "it appears to the Commission that the
motive of JSM in making applications for summoning persons
named in the applications is not guided by the consideration
of assisting the Commission but by some other consideration".

The Commission said that Zadafia, who has parted ways
with BJP and floated his own party, can`t be considered as a
witness and hence cannot be cross-examined.

"He (Zadafia) has neither filed an affidavit nor given
evidence on oath before the Commission...he cannot be said to
be a witness as contemplated by section 8C (of Commissions of
Inquiry Act)," the Commission observed.

The JSM had contended that Zadafia, who was the MoS
Home during post-Godhra riots, has admitted before the Supreme
Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) of making
phone calls to some persons who are now accused in the Naroda
Patiya riot case.

Zadafia could have revealed many important facts about
the riots to the Commission, JSM had said.

With regard to Savani, JSM had claimed that he had
played a role in bringing the bodies of those killed in the
Godhra train burning incident to Ahmedabad and was in
constant touch with Zadafia during the post-Godhra riots.

The state government had opposed JSM`s contention saying
that there was no need to summon Zadafia and Savani as
their statements have already been recorded by the SIT. JSM had requested the Commission to call officials of
Modi`s office Omprakash Singh, Tanmay Mehta and Sanjay
Bhavsar for cross examination in 2002 riots. These officials
have already submitted affidavits to the Commission last year.

The Commission, while rejecting the plea, said it will
not be useful for the purpose of the inquiry.

"As the Commission had not found it necessary to
summon those officers as witnesses, question of permitting JSM
to cross examine those officers really does not arise," the
riot panel further said.

The Commission said in the order that the three CMO
officials were called by the panel to answer some of the
queries regarding an affidavit filed by them, but they had
feigned loss of memory about any telephonic conversation
they have had between February 27 and March 3, 2002.

The Commission contended that request of JSM for cross
examination of the officials also deserves to be rejected on
merit.

PTI



First Published: Monday, September 27, 2010 - 19:09

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