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Teesta Setalvad files plea before Gujarat riots commission

Saturday, May 15, 2010 09:44:27 AM, IANS

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Gandhinagar: Activist Teesta Setalvad of Mumbai-based NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace Friday filed an affidavit before the G.T. Nanavati-Akshay Mehta judicial enquiry commission providing details of the locations of some important mobile phone numbers during the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat.

She said the locations of these mobile numbers were clinching evidence of their movements during these crucial days and of the complicity of the state government in the post-Godhra communal riots.

These numbers were held by the officials of the chief minister's office, senior ministers in the then Narendra Modi cabinet, senior bureaucrats and police officers as well as some Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal leaders.

Teesta claimed that there were 15 phone calls from the chief minister's office to the then Ahmedabad police commissioner P.C. Pande on the morning of Feb 28, 2002.

"Despite this, the police commissioner did not stir out of his office which led to the conclusion that there were instructions from the top to the police not to act."

She also submitted analysis of the locational details of key ministers, bureaucrats and police officers, and VHP leaders to conclude that when the communal riots broke out most of these functionaries were in the vicinity of Naroda or Gulbarg Society in Ahmedabad, which reported major casualties during the rioting.

Those whose call records figure include the then minister of state for home Gordhan Jhadaphia, the then heath minister Ashok Bhatt, the then home secretary Ashok Narayan, the then state director general of police K. Chakravarthi, other key police officers, MLA Mayaben Kodnani, and the then VHP state general secretary Jaideep Patel -- both later held as accused in the Naroda-Patiya and Naroda Gaam massacres -- and Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi, also an accused.

Setalvad's affidavit, however, mostly contained the same details that the Jansangharsh Manch, which is representing the riot victims before the Nanavati-Mehta commission, has already submitted to the commission over three years ago.

It was mainly on this basis that the Manch wanted Chief Minister Narendra Modi and some others to be summoned before the panel for cross-examination.

The commission, however, did not oblige the Manch which, in turn, approached the high court where the matter rests. The commission has informed the high court that it is yet to take a final decision on summoning Modi.





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