The Nanavati Commission probing the 2002 Gujarat riot cases on Monday rejected the application of an NGO seeking a direction to summon former Minister of State for Home Gordhan Zadafia for cross-examination.
The Commission, however, issued orders summoning IPS officer R.J. Savani, who was DCP Zone 5 during the riots.
The NGO Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM) in its application had sought summoning of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Ashok Bhatt, Zadafia and Savani.
Since the JSM did not press for summoning Mr. Modi and Mr. Bhatt, the Commission, comprising Retd. Justices G.T. Nanavati and Akshay Mehta, did not pass any order with regard to the two BJP leaders.
JSM had contended that it would press for calling Mr. Modi and Mr. Bhatt only after the subordinate staff and other ministers are examined.
The Commission also rejected another application of JSM to summon three officials of Mr. Modi’s office.
While rejecting the plea to summon Mr. Zadafia, the Commission observed, “it appears to the Commission that the motive of JSM in making applications for summoning persons named in the applications is not guided by the consideration of assisting the Commission but by some other consideration“.
The Commission said that mr. Zadafia, who has parted ways with BJP and floated his own party, cannot be considered as a witness and hence cannot be cross-examined.
“He (Zadafia) has neither filed an affidavit nor given evidence on oath before the Commission...he cannot be said to be a witness as contemplated by section 8C (of Commissions of Inquiry Act),” the Commission observed.
The JSM had contended that Mr. Zadafia, who was the MoS Home during post-Godhra riots, has admitted before the Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) of making phone calls to some persons who are now accused in the Naroda Patiya riot case.
Mr. Zadafia could have revealed many important facts about the riots to the Commission, JSM had said.
With regard to Mr. Savani, JSM had claimed that he had played a role in bringing the bodies of those killed in the Godhra train burning incident to Ahmedabad and was in constant touch with Mr. Zadafia during the post-Godhra riots.
The State government had opposed JSM’s contention saying that there was no need to summon Mr. Zadafia and Mr. Savani as their statements have already been recorded by the SIT.
JSM had requested the Commission to call officials of Modi’s office Omprakash Singh, Tanmay Mehta and Sanjay Bhavsar for cross examination in 2002 riots. These officials have already submitted affidavits to the Commission last year.
The Commission, while rejecting the plea, said it will not be useful for the purpose of the inquiry.
“As the Commission had not found it necessary to summon those officers as witnesses, question of permitting JSM to cross examine those officers really does not arise,” the riot panel further said.
The Commission said in the order that the three CMO officials were called by the panel to answer some of the queries regarding an affidavit filed by them, but they had feigned loss of memory about any telephonic conversation they have had between February 27 and March 3, 2002.
The Commission contended that request of JSM for cross examination of the officials also deserves to be rejected on merit.