Clinching documentary evidence corroborates serious charges against
Narendra Modi and key officials in his administration
BY TEESTA SETALVAD
Three months ago, our covert story, SIT-ting on the
Truth (March 2010) exposed the frivolous and shallow investigations of
the Gujarat massacres undertaken by the high-profile Special Investigation
Team (SIT) appointed by the Supreme Court and headed by former CBI
director RK Raghavan. One of the major issues raised was the deliberate
refusal of SIT – influenced as it was by the three officers of the Gujarat
police cadre, Shivanand Jha, Geeta Johri and Ashish Bhatia – to examine
available documentary evidence to pin responsibility for complicity and
gross dereliction of duty by top police officers, civil servants and
Shockingly, the documents that SIT deliberately overlooked
are police control room records, station diary entries, fire brigade
registers and, most of all, mobile phone call records of powerful and
influential persons: calls received and made between top politicians,
civil servants, police officers and the prime accused.
The gross failure, deliberate or otherwise, on the part of
SIT to do its duty as assigned by the apex court forced us to undertake
our own several months long close scrutiny of all these records. Citizens
for Justice and Peace (CJP) submitted these findings before the Gujarat
government-appointed Nanavati-Shah-Mehta Commission of Inquiry on May 14,
2010. CJP will also soon be filing its findings before the Supreme Court.
Needless to say, they have a direct bearing on the critical hearing on
SIT’s investigation report pending before the apex court. It may be
recalled that SIT (already appointed to investigate nine major
investigation into critical carnage cases in 2008) was also appointed by
the Supreme Court following a petition of Zakia Ahsan Jafri and CJP asking
for court directions for the filing of a First Information Report (FIR)
against chief minister Narendra Modi and 61 others on charges of mass
murder, criminal conspiracy, destruction of evidence and subversion of
justice (April 27, 2009). The matter comes up for hearing and scrutiny
before the Supreme Court on August 6, 2010. A report in this matter was
submitted by SIT member AK Malhotra to the Supreme Court on May 14, 2010.
We bring to our readers the findings of our investigation
that stretched over six months.
Our investigations into the mobile phone records of over
200 individuals have revealed that bureaucrats heading the chief minister
Modi’s office (CMO), ministers, top police officers and several of the
prime accused were constantly in touch with each other on the critical two
days of mass murder, gang rapes and arson – February 28 and March 1, 2002
– following the fire in a coach of the Sabarmati Express on February 27 in
which 56 persons were burnt to death. Ensuring law and order is the direct
responsibility of the police force. The police officers who came under our
scanner include Gujarat’s then director-general of police (DGP), K
Chakravarti and PC Pande, then Ahmedabad police commissioner (PC) who Modi
later promoted as DGP.
Pande who held the post of PC in Ahmedabad at the time of
the massacres is widely accused of wilfully allowing the killings to go
unchecked. Ironically, the Supreme Court appointed SIT that had access to
the CD with over 5 lakh phone call records did not bother to analyze these
till witnesses and victims filed applications under section 173(8) of the
Code of Criminal Procedure in the Trial Court ion September 2009.
Embarrassed by these applications for further investigation SIT was
content with taking a few corrective steps.
Strangely, Pande received 15 calls from Modi’s office on
the morning of February 28, the day the massacre of Muslims began. The
fact that Pande did not leave his office after 11 am that day suggests the
calls from the office of the top boss were intended to ensure the police
did not interfere with the murderous agenda of the rampaging mobs.
Stranger still, during the same period, Sanjay Bhavsar (OSD to CM) and
Tanmay Mehta (PA to CM) from Modi’s office were in constant telephonic
contact with VHP’s Gujarat general secretary Jaideep Patel, a prime
accused in the massacres at Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gaam.
For the CM’S office to be in touch with Patel is indeed
intriguing. It is the same Patel who was entrusted by Modi – against a
strong advice to the contrary by the district administration – to escort
the dead bodies of 56 people (several of them Hindutva activists), who had
been charred to death in a fire in the Sabarmati Express on February 27. A
compartment in the train had caught fire outside Godhra railway station.
Modi’s government and the BJP-VHP allege that the local
Muslims had deliberately set the compartment on fire. It was the VHP’s
Gujarat bandh call to protest the train deaths that triggered the
state-wide violence against the Muslims from the night of February 27
onwards. For the chief minister’s office to be directly in touch at the
relevant time with the man accused of leading and inciting the massacres
and rapes suggests collusion at the highest level.
The then health minister Ashok Bhatt (he still retains his
portfolio) was also in telephonic contact with Patel on February 28.
Gujarat’s then minister of state for home, Govardhan Zadaphia —forced out
of the BJP subsequently by Modi— was also in frequent touch with both
Patel and Dinesh Togadia, a VHP activist and brother of VHP leader,
Praveen Togadia. Another person, Amit Shah who was heading the Ahmedabad
District Cooperative Bank in 2002 stayed in touch with then joint CP,
Shivanand Jha. The same Shah who is today home minister in Modi’s cabinet
is desperately seeking cover, reportedly facing imminent arrest by the CBI
in Sohrabuddin’s fake encounter case.
Former minister for women and child welfare, Maya Kodnani,
was arrested by the SIT over a year ago. Her phone call records show that
on the day of the massacres (February 28) she was in close touch with
additional CP Shivanand Jha. The depositions of witnesses in the Naroda
Patiya and Gaam massacres testifying to her incitement of the mobs match
with the locational analysis of Kodnani’s mobile. This corroborates her
presence at the site of the massacre that fateful day.
Minister of state for power, Kaushik Jamnadas Patel, too,
had been in touch with Jha as also several other police officers, right
down to police inspector KG Erda, who is accused of facilitating the
massacres of Muslims in the Meghaninagar locality where the Gulberg
society is located. Another police inspector KK Mysorewala, and BJP state
president, Rajendrasinh Rana too were in touch with Kodnani and Patel
among others, lending corroborative evidence and weight to the conclusion
that the massacres within Ahmedabad on February 28 and all over Gujarat
thereafter were part of a well-planned conspiracy at the highest political
Several key questions arise. Why would so many police
officers, from JtCP down to inspectors, be constantly in touch with
leaders of an outfit like the VHP? Especially with those of them who were
subsequently named by eye-witnesses as leading violent mobs? Why were the
cops in touch with ministers? If talking to politicians was in the normal
course of duty, then surely the politicians and the police officers must
account for the absence of effective police action that day. In other
words, if police and politicians were in continuous touch for the right
reasons what accounts for the complete failure in controlling the
violence? The questions are all the more relevant considering that it was
the VHP that gave the call for the bandh on February 28, 2002 and its
ideological ally, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), declared its
unhesitating support for the same.
In view of the above, all arguments in support of a theory
of “spontaneous reaction” to the Godhra incident sound hollow.
The analysis of the mobile call records unravels many gory
tales. VHP men such as Babu Bajrangi – among the prime accused for the
massacres at Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gaam – and Atul Vaidya – accused of
complicity in the massacre at Gulberg Society in Meghaninagar where among
others former Congress MP Ahsan Jafri was killed – were also in touch with
each other. It may be noted that Meghaninagar and Naroda are in far apart
form each other in Ahmedabad city. Why would two accused in two separate
incidents of organized mob violence be in touch with each other except by
design? It was Bajrangi who boasted about his involvement in the massacre
before Tehelka’s hidden cameras (Operation Kalank, 2007). His phone
records show that he was also in constant touch with Patel and two others
of the VHP on the relevant date.
The Gujarat government and its cronies continue to peddle
the theory of a spontaneous outburst in explaining the presence of armed
mobs in Naroda and Meghaninagar areas and the absence of adequate police
bandobast in both places. It is claimed that because these were not among
the known communally sensitive parts of Ahmedabad, the police were
deployed elsewhere and that is how the armed mobs had a free reign. (Both
CP Pande and JtCP Tandon made much the same point while deposing before
the Nanavati-Shah-Mehta Commission).
But our locational analysis of the mobile phone records
reveals a sinister twist that exposes this contention as hollow. What were
six persons from Modi’s office (CMO) doing in the Meghaninagar locality
where the Gulberg society is located on February 27, 2002, the day of the
Godhra mass arson and eve of the massacres? According to the call records,
all the six persons from the CMO were in the area during 2.00-5.00 pm that
day, while Modi was in Godhra. At the same time, then health minister
Ashok Bhatt and Tanmay Mehta (PA to CM Modi) are shown as located at Narol-
Naroda between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm. These very locations were the sites of
the carnage the next day. How is the presence of key and influential
persons here to be explained? What were they doing there, who all did they
Even on the day of the massacres at Gulberg Society,
Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gaam (February 28) call records show that
officials from Modi’s office, ministers Bhatt and IK Jadeja (former urban
development minister), and even DGP Chakravarti were present in these
areas. The question arises: What were these bigwigs doing in those areas
and why could they not stop the killings?
Most significantly, the locational analysis of mobile
phone records also corroborates the critical, secret and illegal meeting
held at the residence of the chief minister on the night of February 27,
2002. The graphs confirm the presence of officers from Modi’s office and
senior policemen in and around his residence in Gandhinagar, Gujarat’s
capital. This corroborates the fact that secret/illegal meetings did take
place, where instructions to allow free reign to the organised mobs led by
men of the VHP/Bajrang Dal are alleged to have been given.
What is truly mysterious is why the high-profile SIT
specially appointed by the apex court failed to carry out a professional
investigation. For example, eyewitnesses and victim-survivors have spoken
of the anguished calls made by Ahsan Jafri (before he was finally killed
in a bestial fashion) to people at the highest levels in government. Was
this mere human lapse or a pre-planned conspiracy at the very highest
levels to allow people to be hounded, trapped, raped, molested, burned and
killed at the Gulberg Society in an orgy of violence that started around
10 am and went on until 5.30- 6.00 pm?
An honest SIT investigation ought to have concentrated on
the following facts:
ط The post-mortem of the bodies of those burned in the
Sabarmati Express (coach S-6) was done hastily at Godhra railway yard
itself, allegedly on the insistence of the CM (phone call records between
the personal secretary to the CM and the health minister).
ط Modi’s insistence on taking the dead bodies to Ahmedabad,
that too under the charge of Jaideep Patel, vice-president, VHP and not
any government functionary (affidavits of additional chief secretary, home
and collector, Godhra filed before the Nanavati-Shah Commission).
ط The bodies carried by road to Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad
in open trucks against the advice of government officers?
ط Call for Gujarat Bandh given by the VHP.
ط State government’s endorsement of the bandh through an
official press note.
ط The CM called a meeting of senior police officers &
bureaucrats on the night of February 27, 2002 at which officers
were allegedly “advised” not to take action against the riotous mobs the
next day and let people vent their anger.
(Meeting attended by chief secretary, ACS (home
department), DGP, Gujarat, principal secretary to the CM, CP, Ahmedabad
city. Testimony of the meeting was given to Concerned Citizens Tribunal by
the then minister of state, revenue, Haren Pandya on May 18, 2002 before
Justice (retired) PB Sawant, KG Kannabiran and Teesta Setalvad,
convenor of the tribunal).
Thereafter, over the next two days:
ط Positioning of senior ministers/party functionaries at
police control rooms to monitor the massacres and to ensure police
ط Muslim residential colonies, shops & establishments
PC Pande‘s role as revealed on analysis of the call
ط Analysis of call records of police
commissioner Pande suggest that he is being protected by SIT.
ط The phone call records of both Pande and JtCP CP Tandon
(see below) show that at the critical time when the latter visited Gulberg
Society on February 28 (between 11.43 am and 12.42 pm) when the mob
build-up was at its peak, the two spoke to each other six times.
For Pande or Tandon to say as they did in affidavits before the
commission that neither was aware of what happened at Gulberg Society
A close and dispassionate analysis of the police control
room (PCR) records of Ahmedabad city co-related with the analysis of
mobile phone call records reveal that:
ط Adequate forces were not sent to Gulberg society despite
repeated calls made to the police control room (PCR) as is evident from
its own official records though Pande would get intimations every 15
minutes of the PCR information.
ط The first time that the fire brigade was called to
Gulberg Society was at 6.55 pm in the evening (February 28) when the
massacre was over and the entire colony was aflame. Despite this call to
the fire brigade, the official panchnama shows that the fire inside
Ahsan Jafri’s home was burning for three-four days after the crime.
Call records of Pande
Pande was in his office till about 1.00 am on the night of
February 27/28. Normally, he would leave office at around 7 pm every
evening. This clearly suggests that he was aware of the gravity of the
situation following the Godhra train fire that day. He was back at his
office by around 8.00 am. His normal schedule shows that he used to arrive
at his office at about 10.30 am. His early arrival again shows that he was
aware of the gravity of the situation.
Pande left his office at around 9.45 am and went towards
Gota. This is likely to be his visit to the Sola Civil Hospital, where the
dead bodies of the Godhra victims had been kept. He returned to his office
around 10.50 am. He then remained confined to his office for the entire
day and did not move out till about 7.10 pm, when he probably went to
Gulberg Society, Meghaninagar.
The important point to be noted is that during the peak
hours of the massacres, he did not move out of his office. It also appears
that he did not issue clear and firm instructions to any of his officers
and let things take their own course.
An analysis of the call records of Pande shows that on
February 28 he made or received a total of 302 calls from his mobile phone.
He had dialled 39 numbers from his mobile phone. Out of these 39
calls, he called the DGP, K Chakravarti, six times. He spoke to JtCP Jha
eight times and his DCPs eight times. Significantly, he called DCP, Zone
IV, PB Gondia only twice: 15:16:12 hrs and 15:54:39 hrs. This despite the
fact that both the worst-affected Gulberg society, Meghaninagar and Naroda
areas were under Gondia’s jurisdiction.
Calls to/from CMO/Secretariat
There were as many as 15 calls received/and made to
the bureaucrats who constantly shadowed the CM. Some secret numbers used
by the chief minister himself have been revealed to us by members of
Modi’s cabinet at the time that reveal calls made to a set of un-located
and unknown numbers. At least about 40 per cent of the calls shown up in
the phone records even today remain untraced showing a wilful refusal of
both AT&T and Cellforce companies to cooperate with law enforcement
agencies. If the Supreme Court were to directly order these companies to
cooperate would they be able to get away with such deliberate
ط There were five incoming calls received by Pande from
the PA to the chief minister, Tanmay Mehta (PA to CM) on February 28,
2002: 11:14, 13:21, 15:38, 15:57 and 19:26 hours. This was the time of the
peak violence when neither Pande, nor any political heavyweight in the
state moved to the affected areas.
ط Pande received two calls from Sanjay Bhavsar, OSD to
Modi: 13:07 and 14:22 hours.
ط Pande received/made seven calls to/from Anil Mukhim,
additional principal secretary to the chief minister on that day. His call
records show that he received four calls from Mukhim: 13:09, 13:12, 15:43,
15:50 and 21:14 hours. At 20: 09 hours and again at 21:03 hours he made
calls to Mukhim’s number.
ط Pande also received one call from the mobile number of
AP Patel, PA to the CM at 17:17 hours on February 28, 2002.
ط Pande was in touch with Ashok Narayan (then additional
chief secretary, home) eight times during the day. Each time it is he who
made the calls: 13:52,14:17, 14:19, 15:02, 15:25, 20:11, 23:26 and 23:42
ط Pande got in touch with SK Nanda, secretary, health and
family welfare board, once during the day (at 15:05 hours).
Note: The three men close to the chief minister,
Tanmay Mehta (PA to CM), Sanjay Bhavsar (OSD to CM) and OP Sinh (PA to the
CM) did not file any affidavits before the Nanavati-Shah-Mehta Commission
till recently. Mehta filed his two page affidavit dated January 22,
2010, Bhavsar on January 22, 2010 and Sinh on February 1, 2010. Until
then, for eight long years after the carnage, they found no reason, nor
were they asked to, file an affidavit.
In these two page affidavits they have explained away the
calls made or received from Zadaphia (MoS, home) and Jaideep Patel saying
they were probably official and due to passage of time they do not recall
what was spoken. There are no averments/explanations in these affidavits
about the CMO being in touch with the commissioner of police Ahmedabad
while violence had raged: 15 times during the day, a period that also
coincided with complete and utter inaction on the part of the Ahmedabad
Police. What were they talking to each other about?
Calls to/from other ministers
ط Pande received six calls from MoS, home, Govardhan
Zadaphia on February 28, 2002: 11:31, 14:20, 14:5, 16:20, 17:16 and 19:11
ط Pande spoke to Narottam Patel, minister for water
supplies and resources at 13:56 hours form his office landline number.
ط Pande spoke to Ashok Bhatt, state health minister twice:
15:09 and 18:31 hours (both were incoming calls).
Calls to/from main accused
ط Pande spoke to Jaideep Patel, VHP Gujarat general
secretary and accused in the Naroda Patiya and Gaam massacres once during
the day at 19:31 ours (incoming call). By then the massacre was over.
Analysis of calls made from his office landline phone to
mobiles of officers show that he connected to mobiles operating in
Ahmedabad city only 13 times (out of 302 calls). Of these, 12 were
incoming calls on his landline phone. He made just one phone call from his
landline number and that too was probably not to an officer. In addition,
this single call was made at 20:10:56 by when most of the massacre and
mayhem was over. It can be concluded that he did not use the landline to
pass orders or instructions to his field officers.
Pande has so far stuck to his ludicrous claim that he had
no information of the happenings in Naroda Patiya or Gulberg Society. In
the deposition before the commission he attributed this to memory loss
concerning the events of February 28, 2002. Pande must be recalled by the
commission and re-examined in the wake of these fresh disclosures. That he
was fully informed about the developments at Gulberg Society and at Naroda
are obvious from his call details. The police control room records confirm
that KG Erda, PI Meghaninagar police station (Gulberg Society is under its
jurisdiction) called the PCR 10 times.
Has Erda been made the fall guy for the lapses of his
Pande is also guilty of not declaring curfew on time.
Curfew was declared only at 12.54 pm on February 28, 2002 after PCR
Shahibaug reported that a 5,000-strong mob had gathered there
(12.38 pm) Piecemeal curfew was declared at 12.38 (in another area, not in
Meghaninagar) and then at 12.54 pm in the Meghaninagar area instead of a
single order being issues for the whole of Ahmedabad city where mobs were
on the rampage in different areas simultaneously. Why?
Was this a part of the strategy to keep areas unprotected
and to leave the mobs to roam free?
The inaction on the part of Pande is apparent. The
real question that arises is the root cause of this inaction: Did he omit
to take necessary measures of his own volition, or was he coerced into
There is another aspect that requires detailed
consideration and investigation. On the evening/night of February 27, a
meeting was called by the CM. Pande was one of the officers who attended
the meeting. What instructions were issued by the CM at the meeting? Were
the officers instructed to take firm action? If that was so, then would
any officer have dared to disobey the CM over a legal order?
The state government has till this day not taken any
serious disciplinary action against any officer. Denying a handful of
officers a few months’ salary is all that the government has to show by
way of disciplinary action for gross dereliction of duty. It is evident
from such farcical action that the Gujarat government was not agitated by
the intentional lack of compliance of its legal orders, assuming it had
Role of JtCP Tandon
Tandon too was in his office late on the night of February
27/28, until about 1.15 am. He was back at his office at by about 8.30 am.
Tandon had visited Gulberg society at around 11.25 am on
February 28. But as police witness testimonies before the trial court
show, on reaching the spot accompanied by a strike force, he found there a
restive mob in an ugly mood. Junior officers on duty pleaded with him to
rush additional police personnel to the trouble spot. But he simply left
the place with his well-armed strike force in tow. Was his decision to
leave Gulberg society unprotected a professional decision or governed by
Tandon’s call records show that he received many calls
from political bigwigs and some of the prime accused:
ط In the early hours of February 28 (0.32 am) he received
a call from Zadaphia; much later, around 5.00 pm a call from Kaushik
Jamnadas Patel, state minister for power. Nimesh Patel, accused of killing
eight people, got in touch at 22:28:34 on February 28.
ط At 12:06:57 pm (afternoon) Tandon received a call from
his immediate boss Pande. Tandon was at Gulberg Society at that time. They
talked for about 75 seconds. What they talked about is not known?
ط At around 12:10 pm, there was a wireless message from a
vehicle of the Meghaninagar police station to the police control room
informing that police had resorted to firing at Gulberg Society. Anyone
familiar with police operations would agree that it is not routine
practice that the police rush to inform the police control room as soon as
they resort to firing. Police would normally inform the Control room only
after the situation eases a bit. This can only mean that when Tandon got a
call from Pande, police had either already resorted to firing or the mob
surrounding the Gulberg Society had become so restive that police firing
was imminent. In such a situation, Tandon would certainly have mentioned
to Pande the grave situation prevailing at the Gulberg Society.
ط At 11:34 am he made a call to his DCP PB Gondia while he
was somewhere near the Shayona Plaza Tower area, which is within 1.5 mtrs.
of the Gulberg Society, Meghaninagar. Eye-witnesses and police witnesses
have testified to Tandon’s visit and this fact has not been denied by
ط Again at 11.43 am he made a call to Pande on the
latter’s mobile number. He made a call thereafter to the police control
room at 11.47 am. He then received a call at 11.48 am from an undisclosed
landline number. Ten minutes later, he made another call and yet again at
11.58 a.m. He took another call from an undisclosed number to the Control
room landline. At 12.06 pm, he received a call from Pande (mobile).
Thereafter, he made a call to RJ Savani, DCP Zone V (a neighbouring zone)
at 12.09 p.m. He was still in this area when he called Pande at 12:.37 pm.
In between at 12.11 pm he made a call to DCP Jabelia of Zone VI while his
location shows him at Kailash Complex, Naroda. When he received a call
from Savani at 12.13 pm, he was at the same location but a minute later at
12.14 when he called Pande his location showed up as Kubernagar.
There are other calls including two calls made to Pande at
12.18 pm when he was at the Kubernagar location. Between 12.11 pm and
12.33 pm, when he received and made calls his location is shown as Kailash
Complex Naroda. Thereafter at 12.41 pm. and 12.42 pm he is shown at Vishal
Diamond Factory near New India Colony at Bapunagar. This is a factory
owned by MOS home, Zadaphia. Then he is out of the affected area and is
shown to be in the vicinity of or at the Bora marriage Hall, Rakhial, Char
Rasta (12.44 pm).
The phone call records of both Pande and Tandon show that
at the critical time when the latter visits Gulberg Society (between 11.43
am and 12.42 pm) when the mob build up was at its height, the two spoke
to each other six times. Tandon’s justification of his
departure without leaving behind the strike force (evidence before the
Tandon at Gulberg Society
While just outside Gulberg Society, Tandon received a call
from Pande and it may be assumed that the two would have spoken about the
violence and restiveness of the mob at Gulberg society at the time. PCR
records also reveal that by the time Tandon got a call from Pande when he
was at Gulberg society, the police had either already resorted to firing
or the mob surrounding the Gulberg Society had become so restive that
police firing was imminent. In such a situation, Tandon, ought to have
informed Pande about the grave threat to the Gulberg Society. Yet Pande
states on oath that he had no knowledge of the happenings there until much
Inexplicably, after talking to Pande, Tandon heads for
Naroda Patiya. If this movement was on the instructions of Pande, it shows
that Pande, who has reportedly pleaded ignorance of the incidents at
Gulberg Society and Naroda Patiya before the Commission of Inquiry, was
actually fully aware of the entire happenings. And that would mean he
committed perjury in wilfully misleading the Commission.
Tandon reached Naroda Patiya at around 12.15 pm, imposed
curfew at 12.29 pm in Naroda Patiya (wireless message records of the same
are available), and then left Naroda Patiya at about 12.33 pm – within 4
minutes of imposing the curfew! At this point a huge mob had already
gathered at Naroda Patiya and its intentions to kill and plunder were
apparent. It was for this reason that Tandon had to order the imposition
of the curfew. However, Tandon made no effort to implement the curfew. He
left the place leaving the hapless residents of Naroda Patiya undefended.
On leaving Naroda Patiya, Tandon went to Dariapur and
Revdi Bazaar areas where nothing all was quiet. Thus, Tandon was neither
at Gulberg Society nor at Naroda Patiya despite having full knowledge of
the prevailing situation at the two places. He was not present at the
places where the crime was taking place despite having sufficient police
force at his disposal. He, thus, clearly abdicated his responsibility and
abetted the commission of the crime by the riotous mob.
Was this omission on the part of Tandon a mere act of
cowardice or was it an intentional omission to leave the mob free to kill,
rape and loot? Was it that he was expected to fall in line and allow the
pre-planned pogrom to be executed without any obstruction or resistance?
Witnesses deposing before the trial court in the Gulberg
society case have testified to Tandon’s refusal to allow them to take the
slain bodies of their near and dear ones when they (survivors) were
rescued around 5.30 pm. Evidence also points to the fact that until then
the bodies were in a recognisable state. Three days later, when survivors
were called for the mass burial of their near and dear ones at the
Kalandari Masjid Kabrastan, the bodies were charred lumps of flesh. Is not
the joint commissioner of police Ahmedabad guilty of destruction of the
bodies and therefore also tampering with evidence?
Role of JtCP Shivanand Jha
Jha, too, was in his office till about 1.15 am on the
night of February 27/28 and was back there only a few hours later, at
about 5:10 am. As in the case of Pande, his being in his office till late
hours and arriving very early suggests that he, too, was aware of the
gravity of the situation. It is seen that both the sector heads – Tandon
and Jha did not move out of their offices till about 11.00 am despite
mounting tension and reports of gathering mobs and skirmishes.
On February 27, 2002 Shivanand Jha received 68 phone
calls, mostly from numbers not listed in the official government
directories. This suggests they were private phone numbers owned by
politicians or officials or they were using phones actually in other’s
names. The next day, Jha’s call records show as many as 192 calls of which
four are the ones he made to then Gujarat power minister, Kaushik Jamnadas
Patel (an MLA from Jha’s jurisdiction). Another three are those that he
made to then MLA from an area outside his jurisdiction, Dr. Maya Kodnani.
Jha’s phone call records show that he called JtCP Tandon once at 18:16
hours. Jha and Pande were in touch nine times during the day which shows
that they were clearly aware of the inaction of the police and action of
Jha was also in touch with Harsh Bhahmbhatt, a close aide
of the chief minister, from whose instrument the chief minister could have
made calls at 19:35 hours.
Role of PB Gondia (DCP, Zone IV (Meghaninagar and Naroda
ط Gondia received two calls from Maya Kodnani at 10.39
hours and 17.05 hours. Gondia received three calls from the accused
Jaideep Patel of the VHP at 11:40, 11:52 and 12: 20 hours. This is a
crucial time when the violence was building up, mobs were attacking Naroda
Patiya, Gaam and Gulberg Society. Gondia spoke to the accused Nimish Patel
six times during the day: 13:53, 14:13, 15:01, 18:55, 21:43 and 22:10
ط Gondia received two calls from minister Kaushik Patel at
17:24 and 17:29 hours.
ط He also received three calls from K Nityanandan,
secretary home department: 19:40, 23:15 and 23:16 hours.
Gondia’s records show that from 12:35 hours to 22:01 hours
on February 28, 2002 he was in the Meghaninagar and Narol (Naroda) areas
and yet did nothing to dispel the mob, call the fire brigade or stem the
violence. At 18:55:59 and then again at 21:43:23 Gondia received a call
from Nimesh Patel (9824255788). It appears as if this officer was
regularly reporting to Nimish Patel and Jaideep Patel: at 22:10:52 Gondia
called Nimesh Patel and at 11:40:02 he received a call from Jaideep
Role of KG Erda (Police officer, Meghaninagar police
KG Erda, investigating officer, Meghaninagar who was
accused by SIT in its charge-sheet dated May 16, 2009 before the trial
court is the lowest officer in the chain of command vis-ŕ-vis Gulberg
ط Erda’s phone call records show that he had been in
constant touch with the Control room throughout February 27 and 28. Even
on the day of the Godhra tragedy, Erda had been in touch with the Control
room from 1.21 pm right up to 11.10 pm, and even kept regular contact with
his immediate superior Gondia.
ط On February 28, of the 28 logged calls made and received
by him, 13 were made by him to the police; 10 calls logged on his mobile
show that he called the Control room 10 times speaking for a total of
about 12 minutes; three calls were made by him to the local Meghaninagar
police station during which he spoke a total of 65 seconds; two calls were
made to DCP Gondia and two calls to JtCP Tandon.
ط The fact that this police officer, the man on the spot,
was in touch with the control room except between 15.33 pm and 17.52 p.m.
(that is for a period of two hours and 20 minutes) when he
preferred to call his immediate bosses Gondia and Tandon could be
significant. This is because this was a critical period of the killing and
carnage at the Gulberg Society when frantic messages to the control room
could have yielded more immediate help.
ط In police and law enforcement language, a call to the
control room effectively means a call to the commissioner of police, CP
Ahmedabad in this case. Various officers in charge of the control room are
expected, to report to the CP area-wise every 15 minutes. A close scrutiny
of the phone call log records of the various police stations connected
with these trials, the police control room, Shahibaug Ahmedabad, and state
police control room, Gandhinagar would reveal which officers performed
their duties and kept their superiors constantly briefed. If these records
then show that after having received such critical information a close
coterie of senior officers who were in touch with the CMO did not act,
allegations of conspiracy get substantiated.
ط To top it all, the phone call records of Erda also
reveal that on February 28 he was in touch with influential and key
accused at various times of the day. At 15:20:35 Erda received a call from
the then MLA Maya Kodnani’s office. (It may be recalled that Kodnani was
Gujarat’s minister, women and child development, in 2009 when she was
served notice of arrest by SIT. She then absconded for several days before
surrendering. Kodnani thereafter resigned her position and was refused
bail by the Gujarat high court. At 18:20:31 Erda again called Kodnani on
her mobile and spoke for 93 seconds from the Meghaninagar area.
Mysteriously, at 17:59:24 the same evening, Erda also called the accused
Nimesh Patel that lasted 24 seconds. In what could be the strangest
co-incidence or have the ingredients of a sinister conspiracy, Nimesh
Patel spoke to Kodnani from his mobile four times – at 12:40 for 29
seconds, at 10:03 for 32 seconds, at 20:58 for 22 seconds and at 12:21 for
(The investigation and scrutiny on which this report is
based was directed and supervised by Teesta Setalvad in which the entire
staff of CJP and Sabrang Trust participated wholeheartedly and with
dedication. Many individuals from Ahmedabad who were witness to the 2002
massacre but who wished to remain anonymous made invaluable contributions
to the investigation.)