The G. T. Nanavati- Akshay Mehta Judicial Inquiry Commission, probing the Godhra train carnage and post-Godhra communal riots in Gujarat in 2002, has summoned the then Minister of State for Home, Gordhan Jhadaphia, for “in-camera” questioning on October 20.
But the Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM), which is representing riot victims, has not been informed of the summons. Its advocate Mukul Sinha said he would challenge the Commission’s move, to summon Mr. Jhadaphia “in my absence and behind my back,” in the Gujarat High Court on Thursday.
The application for summoning Mr. Jhadaphia and six others, including Chief Minister Narendra Modi, for cross-examination was actually moved by the JSM three years ago. But the Commission last month rejected the demand and agreed to summon only R. J. Savani, then Deputy Police Commissioner of Ahmedabad in-charge of the area covering both the riot-hit Naroda-Patiya and Gulberg Society, for questioning on October 15.
A petition seeking a direction to the Commission to summon Mr. Modi and others was already pending in the High Court.
Commission sources said the panel members decided to summon Mr. Jhadaphia on the basis of some new information collected by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team probing some of the more serious riot cases.
The SIT, in its report to the Supreme Court, was believed to have named a couple of senior police officers, including the then Joint Commissioner, M. K. Tandon, and another Deputy Commissioner, P. B. Gondia, who were suspected to have played a key role in the riots along with Mr. Jhadaphia.
The Commission, however, has not accepted the JSM’s plea to summon Mr. Tandon and Mr. Gondia but only asked them to file their replies to the complaints made by the Manch. It has also issued notices to a few other police officials, seeking their explanations on some of the points raised by the JSM. But it did not agree to summon them before the Commission.
At least two of the police officers to whom notices had been issued — K. G. Erda and V. S. Gohil — were arrested by the SIT in connection with the Gulberg Society and Naroda Gaam massacres and are facing trial in the special courts.
Keywords: Godhra riots