VI.  INDICTED

 

OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE OF THE DIRECT INVOLVEMENT OF THE GUJARAT GOVERNMENT IN THE VIOLENCE THAT ENGULFED THE STATE FROM FEBRUARY 2002 ON


Modi’s Role Through Tehelka’s Sting Operation

Modi’s role can once again, apparent from the sting operation conducted by Tehelka’s ‘Operation Kalank’ which was made public in October 2007. Some excerpts from these tapes have been provided below.

The tapes provide incriminating evidence of Modi’s involvement, encouragement to the persons who committed these atrocities and subsequent attempts to thwart the investigations and stifle the justice system.

Below is an admission from a rapist from Naroda who speaks of Modi arriving in Naroda not long after 112 persons were humiliated, butchered and burnt.

Suresh Richard Charda accused in Naroda Patia massacre

February 28, 2002

"(Suresh) Richard: [On the day of the massacre] we did whatever we did till quite late in the evening… at around 7.30… around 7.15, our Modibhai came… Right here, outside the house… My sisters garlanded him with roses…

Tehelka: Narendrabhai Modi…

Richard: Narendra Modi… He came with black commandos… got down from his Ambassador car and walked up here… All my sisters garlanded him… a big man is a big man after all…

Tehelka: He came out on the road?

Richard: Here, near this house… Then he went this way… Looked at how things were in Naroda…

Tehelka: The day the Patiya incident happened…

Richard: The same evening…

Tehelka: February 28…

Richard: 28…

Tehelka: 2002…

Richard: He went around to all the places… He said our tribe was blessed… He said our mothers were blessed [for bearing us]…

Tehelka: He came at about 5 o’clock or at 7?

Richard: Around 7 or 7.30… At that time there was no electricity… Everything had been burnt to ashes in the riots…"

To view the complete transcript see: http://www.tehelka.com/story_main35.asp?filename=Ne031107We_Were.asp

Babu Bajrangi: Role in Massacre

August 10, 2007
TEHELKA: The day Patiya happened, didn’t Modi support you?
Bajrangi: He made everything all right, otherwise who would have had the strength... It was his hand all the way... If he’d told the police to do differently, they would have f****d us.... they could have... they had full control…

TEHELKA: They had control?

Bajrangi: They were very much in control all over the city, all over Gujarat… [But] for two days, Narendrabhai was in control… from the third day… a lot of pressure came from the top… Sonia-wonia and all came here…
• • •

 

TEHELKA: Didn’t Narendrabhai come to meet you [in jail]?
Bajrangi: If Narendrabhai comes to meet me, he’ll be in deep trouble… I didn’t expect to see him… Even today, I don’t expect it…

TEHELKA: Did he ever talk to you over the phone?
Bajrangi: That way I do get to speak to him… but not just like that… The whole world starts singing…

TEHELKA: But when you were absconding, then he…..
Bajrangi: Hmm… I did speak to him twice or thrice…

TEHELKA: He’d encourage you…
Bajrangi: Marad aadmi hai [he’s a real man], Narendrabhai… If he were to tell me to tie a bomb to myself and jump... it wouldn’t take even a second… I could sling a bomb around me and jump wherever I was asked to… for Hindus…

TEHELKA: Had he not been there,then Naroda Patiya, Gulbarg etc…
Bajrangi:Wouldn’t have happened. Would’ve been very difficult.
• • •

 

September 1, 2007

TEHELKA: Did Narendrabhai come to Patiya the day of the massacre?
Bajrangi: Narendrabhai came to Patiya… He could not make it to the place of the incidents because there were commando-phamandos with him… But he came to Patiya, saw our enthusiasm and went away… He left behind a really good atmosphere…

TEHELKA: Said you were all blessed…
Bajrangi: Narendrabhai had come to see that things didn’t stop the next day… He went all around Ahmedabad, to all the places where the miyas [Muslims] were, to the Hindu areas… told people they’d done well and should do more…
 

• • •

Bajrangi: [After the massacre] the commissioner issued orders [against me]… I was told to leave my home… I ran away… Narendrabhai kept me at… the Gujarat Bhavan at Mount Abu for fourand- a-half months… After that, [I did] whatever Narendrabhai told me to… Nobody can do what Narendrabhai has done in - Gujarat… If I did not have the support of Narendrabhai, we would not have been able to avenge [Godhra]… [After it was over,] Narendrabhai was happy, the people were happy, we were happy… I went to jail and came back… and returned to the life I’d led before.
 

• • •
Bajrangi: Narendrabhai got me out of jail…… He kept on changing judges…. He set it up so as to ensure my release, otherwise I wouldn’t have been out yet... The first judge was one Dholakiaji... He said Babu Bajrangi should be hanged — not once, but four-five times, and he flung the file aside... Then came another who stopped just short of saying I should be hanged… Then there was a third one… By then, four-and-a-half months had elapsed in jail; then Narendrabhai sent me a message... saying he would find a way out... Next he posted a judge named Akshay Mehta… He never even looked at the file or anything…. He just said [bail was] granted… And we were all out... We were free….. For this, I believe in God… We are ready to die for Hindutva...

To view the complete transcript see: http://www.tehelka.com/story_main35.asp?filename=Ne031107To_Get.asp

 

Ramesh Dave: VHP activist

June 12, 2007
Ramesh Dave:We went to the [VHP] office that night… the atmosphere was very disturbing… Everybody felt that [we had taken it] for so many years… Narendrabhai gave us great support…

 

TEHELKA: What was his reaction when he reached Godhra?
Dave: In Godhra, he gave a very strong statement… He was in a rage… He’s been with the Sangh from childhood… His anger was such… he didn’t come out into the open then but the police machinery was turned totally ineffective…

What They Said About Modi

‘He Has Done What No CM Ever Has’

To view the complete transcript see: http://www.tehelka.com/story_main35.asp?filename=Ne031107His_Rage.asp

 

Haresh Bhatt: Former MLA from Godhra

June 1, 2007

TEHELKA: What was Narendra Modi’s reaction when the Godhra incident happened?
Haresh Bhatt: I can’t tell you this… but I can say it was favourable… because of the understanding we shared at that time…

TEHELKA: Tell me something… Did he…
Bhatt: I can’t give a statement... But what he did, no chief minister has ever done …

TEHELKA: I won’t quote it anywhere…For that matter… I am not even going to quote you
Bhatt: He had given us three days… to do whatever we could. He said he would not give us time after that… He said this openly...After three days, he asked us to stop and everything came to a halt…

TEHELKA: It stopped after three days… Even the army was called in.
Bhatt: All the forces came… We had three days… and did what we had to in those three days...

TEHELKA: Did he say that?
Bhatt: Yes… That is why I am saying he did what no chief minister can do…

TEHELKA: Did he speak to you?
Bhatt: I told you that we were at the meeting… and the upper castes too have come out now in support of the Parivar…What They Said About Modi  ‘Were Modi Not A Minister, He Would Have Burst Bombs’

 

Toview the complete transcript see: http://www.tehelka.com/story_main35.asp?filename=Ne031107He_Has.asp

 

Arvind Pandya: Government Counsel in the Nanavati-Shah Commission

June 6, 2007

Arvind Pandya: [The Muslims of Godhra] thought they could get away with it because the Gujarati is mild by nature. In the past, they had beaten the Gujarati, they have even beaten the entire world, and nobody has shown any courage… Nobody had ever resisted them… They thought they’d get away with it just like they always do, but they used to get away with it because there was Congress rule here earlier… To get their votes, the Congress would suppress Gujaratis and Hindus… But this time, they were thrashed… It is Hindu rule now… All of Gujarat is ruled by Hindus, and that too from the VHP and the BJP…

 

June 8, 2007

TEHELKA: Sir, is it true that when Modi went to Godhra on February 27, that VHP workers attacked him?
Pandya: No, they didn’t. It’s like this… There are 58 bodies… and it’s evening… people are bound to say,
what have you done…

 

TEHELKA: From 8 in the morning till evening, he didn’t land up… So, when things got heated, then Modi ji got angry and he…
Pandya: No it’s not like that… Modi’s been on our line for a long time… Forget that matter… But he’s occupying a post, so naturally there are more limitations… and he has quite a few… It is he who gave all signals in favour of the Hindus… If the ruler is hard, then things can start happening…

 

TEHELKA: Did you meet… Narendra Modi after he returned from Godhra on the 27th?
Pandya: No, I will not answer queries on this… I shouldn’t...

 

TEHELKA: Sir, I want to know what was his first reaction?
Pandya: When Narendra Modi first heard it over the phone, his blood was boiling… Tell me, what else do I say… I’ve given you some hints and I can’t reveal more than that… nor should I say it…

 

TEHELKA: I wanted to know this… what his first reaction was…
Pandya: No, his reaction was like this: if he were not a minister, he would have burst bombs… If he had the capacity and was not a minister he would have detonated a few bombs in Juhapura [a Muslimdominated locality in Ahmedabad].

 

To view the complete transcript see:  http://www.tehelka.com/story_main35.asp?filename=Ne031107Were_Modi.asp

 

As mentioned above no minutes or records of the meeting held at Chief Minister Modi’s office on February 27, 2002 as well as other irregular meetings convened by higher authorities and attended by the following officers also went undocumented:

Sanjiv Bhatt, the then SP (security), attended several such meetings as staff officer to GC Raiger, additional director general of police (ADGP) (intelligence), but failed to record the instructions he received.

KN Sharma, the then inspector general of police (IGP), Ahmedabad range, under whose jurisdiction many people were killed in the riots, also reportedly attended such illegal confabulations.

Deepak Swaroop, the then IGP, Vadodara range, under whose jurisdiction the Godhra incident had taken place and, moreover, many incidents of mass killing and other atrocities against minorities occurred, is also said to have participated.

MK Tandon, the then assistant commissioner of police (ACP), Ahmedabad, under whose jurisdiction many gruesome incidents of mass murder (Naroda Patiya, Gulberg Society, etc) had taken place was a part of the close-knit group. Tandon was present when the survivors of Gulberg finally escaped to safety and when the bodies of the 70 slaughtered victims were still recognisable. Three days later, at the mass burial of 133 dead (including victims from Gulberg and Naroda), the bodies had been reduced to dismembered pieces. Victim witnesses have prayed before the Gujarat High Court to arraign MK Tandon as accused in the Trial.

One of the accused in the Gulberg Society massacre, Madan Chawal, is on record as saying (during Tehelka’s ‘Operation Kalank’) that the accused played cricket with the skulls of the Gulberg dead. The moot question is whether Tandon also connived and participated in the dismembering of corpses?

Amitabh Pathak, the then IGP, Gandhinagar range, under whose jurisdiction many people were killed during the post-Godhra riots, for instance, in Sardarpura in Mehsana district and several places in Sabarkantha district, was also allegedly part of this conspiracy.

Shivanand Jha, the then additional CP, Ahmedabad, under whose jurisdiction many notorious atrocities against the minority community were committed, was a close confidant of the chief minister. Between 2004 and 2006, as home secretary, he filed several misleading affidavits on behalf of the state government in the Supreme Court. Ironically, thereafter he was made part of the SIT appointed by the apex court. Both Geeta Johri and he were removed by orders of the Supreme Court on April 6, 2010.

DD Tuteja, the then commissioner of police (CP), Vadodara, under whose jurisdiction over three dozen incidents of violence, including the Best Bakery case, took place.

The superintendents of police in the districts of Mehsana, Banaskantha, Sabarkantha, Patan, Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad rural, Anand, Kheda, Vadodara rural, Godhra and Dahod, where mass killings were reported during the riots, all need to be specifically interrogated for their roles as also their failure to document illegal and unconstitutional instructions from the chief minister and other representatives of the state government.  


Further, instances of Modi’s involvement:

No minutes of the meetings held by the chief minister and senior bureaucrats were recorded and such questionable instructions were mainly conveyed over the telephone.

There was an unnecessary delay in the requisition for and deployment of the army even though anti-minority violence had broken out in the cities of Vadodara, Ahmedabad, etc on the afternoon of February 27 itself.

No action was initiated against officers like K. Chakravarti, the then DGP, Gujarat, PC Pande, the then CP, Ahmedabad, Ashok Narayan, the then additional chief secretary (home) or a large number of other senior functionaries in the state government for failure to act and control the violence. These are also the officers who filed incomplete, inaccurate and inadequate affidavits before the Nanavati-Shah Commission.

There was no direction from Modi to Hindu organisations against the observance of a bandh on February 28, 2002.

No action was taken against the print media for carrying communally inflammatory reports despite the fact that the SIB and some field officers had recommended such action. It is the state home department that is empowered to give clearance for initiating action to prosecute the errant media. Modi was Gujarat’s home minister then as he is even today. This has been noted in Sreekumar’s first affidavit dated July 6, 2002 and during his cross-examination before the Nanavati-Shah Commission on August 31, 2004.

The Gujarat government under Narendra Modi is guilty of betraying prejudice against riot victims belonging to the minority community, as revealed by Rahul Sharma, the then SP, Bhavnagar, during his cross-examination before the Nanavati-Shah Commission in 2004. He stated under oath that the then home minister, Gordhan Zadaphiya, reprimanded him for taking action against a mob that was about to set fire to a madrassa with 400 children inside.

Below are excerpts from the Tehelka tapes wherein a number of Modi’s point men have themselves admitted to his involvement:

“To get me out on bail Narendrabhai changed judges thrice." – Babu Bajrangi Patel, Bajrang Dal leader and prime accused in the Naroda Patiya massacre case.

 "His rage was great." – Ramesh Dave, Sangh Parivar diehard.

 "He has done what no CM ever has… he openly said that we had three days to do what we could… he said he would not give us time after that." – Haresh Bhatt, Bajrang Dal leader, Godhra.

"Were Modi not a minister, he would have burst bombs." – Arvind Pandya, Gujarat government counsel before the Nanavati-Shah Commission.

"Revenge was his promise…" – Rajendra Vyas, VHP Ahmedabad president.

Below is a clear account of how Modi used the State machinery to propagate communal violence and ensured that those officers who did not obey his orders were punished:

The transfer of officers from field executive posts, in the thick of the 2002 riots, despite the Director Geneal of Police’s (DGP’s) objection to these transfers, amounted to Modi, as chief executive, deliberately interfering in their duties. The transfers were effected to facilitate the convenient placement, in crucial positions, of those persons among the IPS and IAS who were willing to subvert the system for personal benefit.

Modi also rewarded those senior officials who gave incomplete and questionable evidence before the Nanavati-Shah Commission with undue benefits. P.C.Pande was rehabilitated into the CBI when Advani was home minister in February 2004, just when citizens’ groups were pleading for independent investigation into the riot cases. In a clear-cut directive, the Supreme Court ruled in October 2004 that he should be kept out of handling Gujarat 2002 cases. Defiant and undeterred, in 2006 the Modi government appointed him DGP of the state, a post that he occupied until six weeks before his retirement. A subsequent challenge to his appointment, by Citizens for Justice and Peace(CJP) in the Supreme Court, was rejected, after extensive arguments, in February 2009.

The post-retirement appointment of Ashok Narayan, the then additional chief secretary, home department, as the State Vigilance Commissioner, which was followed by five extensions of his tenure is another example of Modi rewarding those who were willing to subvert the system with him.

Modi willfully ignored intelligence reports of the Gujarat SIB

These reports were sent to the state home department, Modi was Home Minister at the time.

There were no follow ups to these reports dated April 24, June 15, August 20 and August 28, 2002.

Copies of these reports were appended to Sreekumar’s second affidavit dated October 6, 2004 before the Nanavati-Shah Commission.

What did the reports of the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB) say?

April 24, 2002: This candid five-page appraisal speaks of the strong resentment felt by the Muslim minority, given the disproportionate destruction of Muslim life and property as also the connivance of the state government through its police and law and judiciary department to protect the accused. The report details that "as on April 23, 2002, 636 Muslims were killed in the riots (of these, 91 were killed in police firing) as against 181 Hindus killed (76 in police firing). Nearly 329 Muslims had sustained injuries in arson as against 74 Hindus… Significantly, this trend of loss of life and damage to property is heavily weighted against Muslims in Ahmedabad city where 278 Muslims were killed in riots (including 57 in police firing) as against 91 Hindus (30 in police action). The persons injured in stabbing and arson, etc comes to 408 in Muslims as against 329 Hindu victims of stabbing and arson."

The report details the victim community’s deep animosity towards the police and the state for doctoring FIRs (not registering actual names of the accused) and clubbing together FIRs in order to reduce the magnitude of the crimes, for not seizing the property of Hindu accused arrested for serious non-bailable offences and for the appointment of partisan public prosecutors who belonged to the ruling party and extremist Hindu organisations.

On May 7, 2002 Modi summoned Sreekumar to his office and, on the pretext of asking for his assessment of the continuing violence in Ahmedabad, criticised the intelligence chief’s note of April 24, saying that it had drawn the wrong conclusions based "on partial data and defective presumptions". Modi told Sreekumar that the violence unleashed by Hindu mobs after the Godhra incident on February 27, was a natural, uncontrollable reaction that no police force could control. Sreekumar argued with the chief minister, saying that the authorities could not take such an attitude, especially not the police department whose primary duty was to maintain public order. Modi then became defensive, laying the blame on the DGP and CP, Ahmedabad, who had been given powers, he said, to control the violence. He then asked Sreekumar to concentrate on Muslim militants. Sreekumar urged the chief minister to take steps to restore the confidence of the minority community as outlined by him in his note. This included immediate and concrete steps to arrest the subversion of the criminal justice system, arrest the guilty criminals and initiate confidence building measures between the two communities. Instead of doing this, the police watched silently as VHP and Bajrang Dal criminals openly extorted monies, promoted the economic boycott of Muslim establishments and so on.

Modi was now visibly annoyed at Sreekumar’s suggestions and argued that it was Muslims who were on the offensive. Quoting statistics on high casualties among Muslims due to police firing during the riots, Sreekumar appealed to him to see reason and acknowledge that it was Hindus who were on the offensive. The chief minister instructed him not to concentrate on the sangh parivar, as they were not doing anything illegal. Sreekumar replied that it was his duty to report accurately on any developing situation and provide advance, actionable, preventive, real time intelligence that may have a bearing on public order and the unity and integrity of India even if that meant keeping tabs on the sangh. Understanding the significance of the response, the chief minister tried one last time to throw his weight around. Modi asserted that he (Modi) should be the intelligence chief’s "source" in tracking the sangh parivar and that Sreekumar need not look for sources elsewhere. (It was a clear hint that Sreekumar should not bother to collect data on the sangh parivar.)

June 25, 2002:

The chief minister convened a conference of senior officers of and above the rank of SPs from all over the state. Sreekumar records how Modi asked the "police not to be influenced by the JNU brand of secularism." The chief minister’s tacit message was that police officers should function as committed ideologues of the ruling party and not soldiers of the Indian Constitution.

 

August 20, 2002:

Following a telephonic request from PS Shah, additional secretary (law and order), on August 20, 2002, the SIB submitted its own independent review of the law and order situation in the state. It is obvious that the state government was seeking acquiescence to enable it to justify its decision on July 19, 2002 to dissolve the state assembly and call for immediate elections.

The SIB observed that:

a) Incidents were reported from "993 villages and 151 towns covering 284 police stations (out of 464 police stations) spread over 54 assembly constituencies out of 182 assembly constituencies."

b) The communal divide between the Hindus and Muslims had widened to an unprecedented degree. The interaction between the two communities was practically negligible in social, commercial, financial and cultural fields. Large sections of the minorities, being the major victims in the recent riots, were still to develop adequate faith in the administration, police department and criminal justice system. The minorities also continued to complain that many rioters belonging to the Hindu community had not been arrested, as they held important positions in Hindu organisations.

c) The minorities were also dejected about non-implementation of most of the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and National Commission for Minorities. They were also upset about the fact that of the 302 dargahs, 209 mosques and 30 madrassas damaged during the riots, only a handful had been repaired and restored to their original condition.

d) In many places, riots victims belonging to the minority community could not restart their commercial activities, or the small businesses they ran before the riots, due to a constant feeling of insecurity. In one incident that took place as late as July 4, 2002, a (Muslim) man and his son were murdered upon their return to their hometown in Vadodara district.

e) An estimated 75,500 persons from 13 districts had been shifted to other places and had yet to return home. If elections were to be held in this heightened atmosphere of insecurity, these persons would remain practically disenfranchised in the event of an election being held before their return to their hometowns. According to information that was received, interested political parties would in all probability collect such persons in large numbers and insist upon their voting rights on polling day. This would lead to confrontations between rival political groups and a resultant disruption of public order.

f) During the communal riots 10,472 houses, 12,588 shops and 2,724 larri/gallas were damaged or destroyed due to arson while 1,333 shops were ransacked. In this process thousands of people have lost all their documents of identity. Unless prompt remedial measures were taken, they would also pose a problem with regard to their re-enumeration as electors and subsequently, in exercising their franchise.

g) With so many persons having fled, it was unlikely that the elections would be free or fair.

August 28, 2002:

 

In another report on the law and order scenario, the SIB once again details the atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion between communities and the danger posed by the propagation of fundamentalist literature on both sides that could widen the gulf. Hence it advises that the state home department issue specific instructions to district collectors/district magistrates ordering them to take strict action against the projection of communal issues in the campaign and to rigorously observe the law and guidelines on assembly of persons so as to avoid any clashes.

Additional chief secretary (home), Ashok Narayan, took exception to the SIB’s assessment, as reflected in deputy inspector general of police (DIG) E. Radhakrishna’s report of August 28, 2002 where he questions Sreekumar on this.

Sreekumar replies on August 30, 2002. He states that the Election Commission of India has observed that SIB appraisal of the communal situation was in consonance with the inputs received by the commission as evident from its order dated August 16, 2002. In response to Narayan’s query on "whether the SIB’s assessment was based only on the input from some of your field officers or the input from other government officials and others connected with the administration of the state were taken into consideration", Sreekumar replies that the SIB assessment was "based on the intelligence gathered by SIB functionaries, including senior officers, and also data received from jurisdictional police officers. We did not collect any data from any non-police departmental sources."

Modi misled the Election Commission:

The Gujarat state home department gave the CEC misleading reports about the ‘normalcy’ in the state in a bid to push for early assembly elections, riding high on a massacre.

 

SIB chief, Sreekumar’s opinion was contrary to the "official version" in early August 2002.

 

The assessment of the Gujarat state home department was adjudged to be false by the EC in its order dated August 16, 2002. Modi, as home minister, headed this department.

 

Failure to re-habilitate the victims:

 

The Modi government failed to create a situation conducive to the rehabilitation of riot victims notwithstanding its claims to the contrary in reports to the NHRC. Instead, the riot victims were pressurised to compromise with the perpetrators of the violence as a condition precedent to their safe return and rehabilitation.

 

On July 20, 2004, faced with a hostile government in New Delhi which had threatened to set up a parallel central commission of inquiry into the genocidal carnage of 2002, the Modi government expanded the terms of reference of the Nanavati-Shah Commission. The second term of reference requested the commission inter alia to inquire into the "role and conduct of the then chief minister (Narendra Modi) or any other ministers in his council of ministers, police officers, other individuals and organisations" relating "to the facts, circumstances and course of events of the subsequent incidents in the aftermath of the Godhra incidents."

 

But this was obviously a mere formality, meant only to appease the public. It is odd that the Nanavati-Shah Commission did not insist that the commission’s terms of reference be honoured by the state government and its representatives. RB Sreekumar and Rahul Sharma were among the few who deposed on this critical question. Meanwhile, senior officials who are also accused in this complaint conspired with Modi and his men to suppress the truth about 2002.

Incriminating evidence provided by former ADGP of Gujarat- Sreekumar

Sreekumar, who was Additional director general of police at the time, was posted as head of the Gujarat state intelligence wing from April 2002. From April 2002 until September that year he maintained a personal register documenting the illegal instructions issued by Modi and his own superiors in the police department. These instructions were aimed not towards arresting the violence and booking the guilty but shielding the real accused and concocting false evidence. He got this document cross-signed by his immediate boss, OP Mathur, the IGP (administration and security).

After newspapers carried reports on Sreekumar’s first affidavit dated July 6, 2002, which he filed before the Nanavati-Shah Commission, the CM used his clout to approach the ADGP with clear attempts to pressurise him into giving false evidence before a commission of inquiry set up under the Commission of Inquiry Act 1952 in the public interest. To see Sreekumar’s complete affidavit visit –

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V. Full Texts of the Five Affidavits Submitted by former ADGP Intelligence, State of Gujarat, R. B. Sreekumar, who retired after a stiff legal battle as Director General of Police in 2008

Dates of Affidavits:
15.7.2002 / 6.10.2004 / 9.4.2005 / 27.10.2005 / 3.5.2010
/

Register that recorded illegal instructions --April-September 2002

Personal Register

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On August 21, 2004 the then undersecretary (budget and coordination), Dinesh Kapadia, tried to persuade Sreekumar, who was to appear before the commission on August 31, to give a deposition favourable to the government. Kapadia told Sreekumar that no purpose would be served by telling the truth before the commission since its recommendations would not be accepted and said that all commissions were paper tigers. Three days after this endeavour, one that had obviously been carried out with Modi’s blessings, GC Murmu, the then secretary (law and order), home department, summoned the ADGP. On the evening of August 24, 2004 a "briefing session for tutoring Sreekumar" was held.

Murmu was ably aided and abetted in this illegal effort by Arvind Pandya, advocate for the Gujarat government before the commission. They directed this police officer to avoid making any statements that could embarrass the government. They stressed that they had similarly briefed all witnesses i.e. government officials on how to depose before the commission without harming the Gujarat government’s interests. When Sreekumar did not oblige, he was threatened... if he gave a statement that went against the interests of the state government, he would be declared a hostile witness and dealt with suitably later. Sreekumar taped this blatantly illegal effort and has appended the transcript of the tape to his third affidavit that was presented before the commission.

This briefing and the directives issued by Murmu and Pandya were patent efforts to intimidate a witness and tamper with evidence, both of which are serious offences under the Indian Penal Code. Moreover, these actions were in total violation of the letter and spirit of the terms of reference of the commission as specified in the government notifications dated March 6, 2002 and July 20, 2004. In these notifications, the state legal department among other things stressed on inquiring into the "role and conduct of the then chief minister or any other ministers in his council of ministers, police officers, other individuals and organisations" in the Godhra and post-Godhra violence.

Instead of encouraging officers to assist the commission in arriving at the truth behind the collapse of law and order and the pogrom against Gujarat’s Muslims, at this in camera meeting attempts were made to influence and intimidate a senior officer of the Indian Police Service and a prime witness before the commission. He was being directed, at Modi’s behest, to lie under oath and avoid telling the whole truth.

Needless to say, Sreekumar refused to comply with these unlawful demands. Retribution came swiftly, however. He was denied his rightful promotion to the top police post in the state even as vicious attempts were made to charge-sheet him. He was separately charge-sheeted for sharing confidential government records before an inquiry commission investigating the cause of the outbreak of violence in 2002 and the persons responsible for it. He fought both cases and emerged vindicated. A day before his retirement on February 28, 2009 he was reinstated as DGP and thus retired in the very post that his vengeful political bosses had sought to deny him.