VI.  INDICTED

 

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


Detailed Evidence Against Gujarat Police Top Brass

There is indisputable proof in the form of Police Control Rooms Records of Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad, Station Diaries and Other Contemporaneous and relevant records of various concerned police stations, Collection and Analysis of Phone Call Records of Powerful Politicians, Senior Administrators, Policemen and Accused. It is therefore essential to do a complete analysis of various senior Police functions and Politicians in order to highlight their overt or covert involvement in the communal violence.


Shri P.C. Pande, the former Commissioner of Police (CP), Ahmedabad, and later the Director General of Police, Gujarat sent a confidential written communication to the then DGP, K. Chakravarti, on April 19, 2002.


The letter implicates Bharat Barot, the then Minister for Food and Civil Supplies in the Gujarat government, as he directly instigated well-known gangsters of the Bajrang Dal and VHP to arson.


Another such letter by the CP, written ten days later, was addressed to both DGP K. Chakravarti, and the then additional chief secretary (home), Ashok Narayan (accused numbers 25 and 28 respectively).


Both these letters were submitted to the Nanavati-Shah Commission in 2006 as appendices to the then ADGP, Mahapatra’s affidavit. Despite attempts by the commission to prevent copies of the letters from coming out, CJP managed to access the documents in 2006 itself and they were part of the Zakiya Jaffri petition in both the Gujarat High Court and the Supreme Court.


On April 15, 2002, four days before Pande’s first letter to the DGP, a mob had gathered near the Amba Mata temple, near Kapadia High School outside Delhi Darwaja in Ahmedabad. It was 9.30 a.m. and Bharat Barot, then a cabinet minister, drove up in a white private car, had a conversation with some members of the mob (named below) and drove off. As soon as Barot left incidents of arson took place outside Delhi Darwaja and near Idgah Chowky.


Pande while referring to this incident in the letter to the DGP, states that Harshad Panchal, Dipak Goradia and Dinesh Prajapati, all workers of the Bajrang Dal, were part of the mob. Pande, who was part of Narendra Modi’s major cover-up operation in 2002, also says that known leaders of the VHP and Bajrang Dal such as Raju Ravji Thakore, Kamlesh Babu Thakore, Bholiyo, Virambhai, Paresh Langdo and Mahendra Bachubhai were part of a mob that had launched attacks in the Madhavpura locality.
So instead of booking the minister for incitement and abetment, Pande politely requests his boss "to bring this matter to the knowledge of government" and to make arrangements to ensure that "Hon’ble ministers of government may not do (sic) such activity." Moreover, he keeps the letter under wraps until it was produced before the Nanavati-Shah Commission.


Shielding the VHP, Bajrang Dal and other such organizations:


On April 29, 2002 in a second written communication to Chakravarti and Ashok Narayan Pande talks about the continued misbehaviour and criminal actions of the VHP and Bajrang Dal in Ahmedabad. He says, "one and three quarter months (after the Godhra and post-Godhra violence) …when the situation in Ahmedabad is limping back to normal, some ugly activities are being carried out by parties that have the support of the government." Specifically, he states that workers of the VHP and Bajrang Dal in Ahmedabad city were extorting money from businessmen under the pretext of providing them protection from the minority community. Though forced by the bullying tactics of the VHP and Bajrang Dal into paying out the amounts demanded, the businessmen had nonetheless complained about these illegal activities in public and also to the police.


He also makes a reference to complaints received by the police of threats faced by the minority community when they went to majority-dominated areas for work or work-related activities. Here too he says that the police had noted the active role played by workers of the VHP and Bajrang Dal.


Pande also states in this letter that attempts were being made by criminals belonging to the VHP and Bajrang Dal to seize the properties of minorities after their homes had been destroyed by goons belonging to the majority community. He says that members of the minority community were not allowed to reclaim their properties and were being threatened if they did return.


(This letter has been accessed by CJP. It was submitted to the Gujarat high court in 2007 as an annexure to the petition filed by Zakia Jaffri and CJP, seeking directions from the court for registration of an FIR against Modi and 62 others. Thereafter, in 2008 it was filed in the Supreme Court, in the litigation challenging the appointment of PC Pande as DGP of Gujarat).


Pande reveals all the misdemeanours of the VHP, Bajrang Dal etc in confidential communications to his superiors but takes no steps to book the criminals, register complaints and protect the victims. He privately acknowledges the criminal activities of groups that enjoy the patronage of the top men in government as seen in these letters. But as the commissioner of police why did he restrict himself to private pleas and in-house communications instead of perfoming his bounden duties.
 

Pande’s Memory Loss before the Nanavati Commssion

Deposing before the Nanavati-Shah Commission on August 18, 2004, former CP, Ahmedabad city, PC Pande said he only heard about the Naroda Patiya violence at 9.30 p.m. on February 28, 2002, when “I received information that some persons had been killed there”. And it was only when he went there at around 10 or 11 p.m. that he realised the “gravity” of the situation. However, by 9.30 p.m., the Naroda massacre over. Eighty-three persons had already been killed and Pande’s cellphone records show that right through the afternoon, from 2.30 to 9 p.m., he was, in fact, in regular touch with two police officers in charge of the areas under which both Naroda Patiya and Gulberg Society fall.During the last half hour of the massacre at Naroda, he even received a call from VHP state general secretary and riot accused, Jaideep Patel. Nevertheless, in his deposition before the Nanavati-Shah Commission, Pande said that he had not been “receiving any information regarding the serious incidents which followed after 2.30 p.m.”.

Another point on which Pande claimed memory loss was the meeting called by the chief minister, Narendra Modi, on the night of the Godhra arson, hours after the VHP and the BJP had declared a bandh for the next day.


Thus, Shri P.C. Pande stands seriously indicted for the failure to control the violence in Ahmedabad city, the delay in imposition of curfew, the participation in illegal acts at the behest of the state government issued in un-minuted meetings on the evening of February 27, 2002 and early morning of February 28, 2002.
Nothing illustrates police role better than Police commissioner P.C. Pande’s statement The Telegraph, March 2, 2002 ‘Police were not insulated from the general social milieu… (When) there’s a change in the perception of society, the police are part of it and there’s bound to be some contagion effect”’.

For more information see: “The Silent Conspirator” by Teesta Setavad, Communalism Combat: June, 2009 http://www.sabrang.com/cc/archive/2009/may09/cover4.html
 


Shri Shivanand Jha was posted as the Additional Commissioner, Sector – I, Ahmedabad City during the riots of 2002. He did not move out of his office till about 11.00 a.m. despite reported large-scale violence within his jurisdiction. Proof of this is found from the CDR analysis of the CD submitted by Mr. Rahul Sharma to the Nanavati – Shah Commission, which has also been submitted to the SIT.

Widespread rioting, looting and arson took place in his jurisdiction. By not taking prompt action and controlling the situation he permitted the riots to grow in their intensity. He took no preventive action during the previous night. Therefore, by his deliberate inaction he permitted the carnage to continue. Inspite of this his name was proposed by the State Government for inclusion in the SIT.

Further, is considered to be a close associate of Shri PC Pande and key to exploring the complicity of the chain of command responsibility in the violence. Under the circumstance, he cannot be expected to interrogate Shri PC Pande and investigate his role, which are borne by the subsequent acts of omission of the SIT.

The phone call records of Shri Jha for February 28, 2002, the day of the worst violence in Ahmedabad city reveal that among other persons he make 3 calls to MLA Maya Kodnani who is an accused in the Naroda Patiya and Gaam massacres though she was not an elected representative of the zone under his jurisdiction.

Jha managed to stay in Ahmedabad with his family, when he was posted in Rajkot, almost all through his tenure of more than a year with the blessings of Shri PC Pande.

He continued as a favoured officer of Shri PC Pande and during the tenure of DGP Shri Pande. He has held the most influential postings (e.g. Home Secretary, IG of Police, Surat Range). He continued as the head of the Surat Range even after his promotion to the rank of Additional DGP, which has never been heard of. He is presently posted as Commissioner of Police, Surat City. This demonstrates that he has been consistently close to and is a trusted person of the political executive.

As per his own admissions, in confidence, before some of his colleagues, he claims that he had been directed not to move out of his office and let the riots fester by Shri PC Pande. It is only natural that the SIT chose to ignore the role Shri PC Pande in the communal violence in Ahmedabad City given Jha’s role in the SIT.

He had also brought the Police Control Room, Ahmedabad City, under his charge with the permission of Shri PC Pande. Therefore, for this reason the SIT omitted to investigate as to why politicians were sitting in the Ahmedabad City Police Control Room and whether they had had any role to play in the major massacres.

He was the Secretary in Home Department of the Government of Gujarat for nearly three years when the matter was pending before this Hon’ble Court when he consistently took the position and was a party to the affidavits on behalf of the State that the investigations of these cases should not be handed over to the CBI or transferred out of the State. Although it can be argued on his behalf that he was voicing the position of his Government, it cannot be denied that in him the Government had found a trustworthy and reliable instrument for its unethical and crafty maneuvers.

He is the person who personally cleared all the affidavits that had been filed by police officers, who had been employed in Ahmedabad City at the relevant time, before the Nanavati-Shah Commission enquiring into the Gujarat riots. Many of these affidavits contain false declarations and had his conscious approval.

As the supervisor of the case regarding the Sabarmati Express carnage at Godhra, he has done precious little to add to or improve the questionable evidence collated by the Gujarat police in the case. In the Godhra Train Burning Case, the SIT has fully endorsed the conspiracy theory floated by the Gujarat Police investigation team and has not probed into the revelations in the Tehelka Magazine organized ‘Operation Kalank’, in which the witnesses admitted that they were bribed by the Gujarat police to speak in favour of conspiracy theory of Gujarat police.

Moreover, Mr. Shivanand Jha is one of the accused persons named in the complaint of Smt. Jafri which has been ordered by this Hon’ble Court to be enquired into by the SIT and to be dealt with as per law. This conflict of interest has seriously impacted the transparency and accountability of the SIT.

Shri Ashish Bhatia has been heading the Crime Branch, Ahmedabad City for the past three years before the SIT was constituted by the Supreme Court in March 2008.

As Joint CP, Crime Branch, he was supervising the investigations of the major cases of massacres in Ahmedabad City (e.g. Naroda Patiya, Gulberg Society, Naroda gaam Cases) and did nothing for three years despite evidence already having come on record regarding the involvement of political personalities in the crimes. Moreover, no effort was made to collect fresh evidence & to uncover the truth before the SIT.

In Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gaam cases, handled by Shri Bhatia, Trial Court Judges have refused legal representation to victims and witnesses which is their right under Section 24(8)(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Shri RK Shah Special Public Prosecutor for the Gulberg Society Case has made serious allegations against Shri Bhatia regarding undue interference and lack of support to the prosecution in conducting the trial of the case.

Shri M.K. Tandon was posted as Joint CP (sector II), Ahmedabad and was in charge of areas that saw the worst two massacres. Tandon informed the Nanavati-Shah Commission that he only heard about the attack on Gulberg Society at 2 p.m. on February 28. This was a massacre in which 70 people were killed, many of them burnt alive, including former Congress MP, Ahsan Jaffri. “I was not present when the mob was being dispersed as I had gone near the Gulberg Society at about 10.45 a.m. and then had gone to Naroda. I was in Naroda at about 12 p.m.,” he deposed.

However, records of Tandon’s official cellphone reveal that between 11.34 a.m. and 12.09 p.m., he was in the Meghaninagar area (where Gulberg Society is). From Meghaninagar, records show, he called up the DCP in charge of the area and the CP, PC Pande. (According to police records, violence at Gulberg Society started at 10.30 a.m. and went on till 7 p.m.)

He also told the commission that he only heard about the Naroda Patiya massacre at 9.30 p.m. “I do not know when the mob entered this Muslim locality and I also do not know if the police officials present on the spot tried to contact me during this time. I think that during this time, the telephone lines were jammed. I first came to know about this incident (Naroda Patiya) at 9.30 p.m. when I was in the Gulberg Society and immediately rushed there,” he said.

But his cellphone details reveal that he was constantly in touch with the police officers who were in direct charge of the riot hit areas, and the police control room called him at least four times between 1.24 p.m. and 3.01p.m.


How Gujarat’s Top Cops Deliberately abandoned Gulberg Society
Where were the Top Cops when Armed Mobs Surrounded and Attacked Gulberg Society?



Commissioner of Police PC Pande
Curfew was declared in the Meghaninagar area where the Gulberg Society is located at 12.54 pm (according to the Police Control Room Records—PCR). By then, according to data of the PCR itself, the Gulberg Society had already been surrounded by a mob of 4-5,000 armed with weapons. (12.38 p.m., PCR Records). In law, the Commissioner of Police, PC Pande has the responsibility of declaring curfew on time.


At 2.09 p.m. PI Meghaninagar KG Erda even asked for Central Paramilitary Forces but the PCR records show no deployment of paramilitary forces in the area till late in the evening, a decision that should have been taken by the Commissioner of Police, PC Pande.
 

Joint Commissioner of Police, Sector II, MK Tandon

He finds himself more comfortable in the Revdi Bazar area between 2 and 3 p.m. immediately after he received a call from his boss, Commissioner of Police PC Pande informing him of the attack on the residents of the Gulberg Society in the Meghaninagar area. (Revdi Bazar is five kilometres away from the Gulberg Society)
When the PCR sent a message to Tandon mentioning that Shri Ahsan Jafri and other residents of the Gulberg society were in danger, Tandon was still seen in Revdi Bazar area which was apparently calm, with no incidents of violence.


In spite of Meghaninagar PI KG Erda desperately seeking additional deployment at Gulberg around 2.30 p.m. MK Tandon leaves the Revdi Bazar area only after he was ordered to do so by City Police Commissioner, PC Pande around 3 p.m. Ironically, Revdi Bazar where Tandon appears to have sought asylum falls under the jurisdiction of his counterpart Shivanand Jha who during those crucial minutes was in the comfort of his own office at Shahibaug.

Link:
http://www.cjponline.org/gujaratTrials/nanavatisub/nanavatisubmission.htm


DCP Zone IV, P.B. Gondia
Not only did Tandon shy away from the engulfed and burning Gulberg society, even his deputy, DCP Zone IV, PB Gondia inspite of being repeatedly informed by PCR (Police Control Room) about the attack on Gulberg Society stayed away from the worst affected areas and from attending to the helpless cries of residents. He preferred to stay at the Kuber Nagar area, 6 kilometres away.


Gondia arrives at the Gulberg Society a few minutes before 2 p.m. on that fateful day only to leave the place in less than one hour, leaving a free way of passage to the armed mob. Later that afternoon Gondia moves to the Kalupur area which does not come under his jurisdiction.


The safety of the entire Meghaninagar area during the most crucial periods of the day, from 11.30 a.m.-3.30 p.m. was left on PI KG Erda’s shoulders despite the fact that Erda had himself asked the PCR to inform his bosses about the gravity of the situation and also to ensure that senior officers remain physically present as things were beyond his control. Today, KG Erda is an accused in the trial but PB Gondia, MK Tandon and PC Pande have escaped the investigator’s net.


Clearly evident is the fact that the top Gujarat officers turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to the pleas of victims under attack for reasons best known to them. The entire Meghaninagar area was left unmanned by senior police personnel even when a residential society along with a neighbouring police chowky were set afire leading to huge casualties. Among the 70 persons maimed, massacred and burnt to ashes, were former parliamentarian Shri Ahsan Jafri.


(Source: Phone Call Records Analysis Co-Related with PCR Records)

 

Link:

http://www.cjponline.org/gujaratTrials/nanavatisub/nanavatisubmission.htm

 

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