The Gujarat government has extended the term of Nanavati Commission, probing the 2002 riots in the state, till December 31, 2011, officials said on Tuesday.

The term of the Commission comprising of retired Justices G T Nanavati and Akshay Mehta that was extended in December last was to get over on June 30.

Officials of the Nanavati Commission said that they received the extension letter from the State government few days ago. It is the 16th time that the tenure of the panel has been extended.

The Commission is presently in the process of recording the statement of IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt.

The Commission has already probed 4,145 cases which took place between February 27, 2002 and May 31, 2002.

The riot panel in 2008 had submitted, one part of its finding, that was with regard to Godhra train burning incident, where it had concluded that the incident of burning of S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express near Godhra railway station was a pre-planned conspiracy.

The Commission was appointed by the State government on March 3, 2002, under the Commission of Inquiry Act, after wide-spread communal riots in the State in wake of the Godhra train burning incident on February 27, 2002.

Initially the terms of reference (TOR) of Commission was to inquire into facts, circumstances and course of events that led to burning of the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express near Godhra railway station.

The TOR was further amended in June 2002 and the Commission was also asked to inquire the incidents of violence that took place after the Godhra train burning incident.