The suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt has cited an affidavit filed by the former Gujarat Chief Minister, Amarsinh Chaudhary, to press his demand before the G. T. Nanavati–Akshay Mehta judicial inquiry commission for summoning Narendra Modi for cross-examination in the 2002 communal riots case.
In an application on Wednesday, Mr. Bhatt pointed out that the late Chaudhary had delineated the “deliberate inaction” on the part of Mr. Modi during the communal riots in general, and the massacre at Gulberg Society here in particular, for which the Chief Minister needed to be questioned.
In his affidavit filed in July 2002, Chaudhary, who was then State Congress president, said that that when he, along with Leader of the Opposition Naresh Raval, called on Mr. Modi to seek help for the residents of Gulberg Society, he did not find the Chief Minister “much responsive.”
Chaudhary said the former Congress MP, Ehsan Jafri, who was among the victims in the carnage there, had been calling for help after a massive, violent crowd had gathered in front of the society. Chaudhary, who also received Jafri's calls for help, said he, besides alerting Congressmen to seek police assistance, contacted Ahmedabad Police Commissioner P.C. Pande, requesting him to rush a police force to the society, “but I regret to say no help was coming from him.”
It was in these circumstances, Chaudhary said, that he, accompanied by Mr. Raval, met Mr. Modi in Gandhinagar about 2 p.m. on February 28, 2002. “I apprised the Chief Minister of the grave danger to the lives of Mr. Jafri and other occupants of Gulberg Society. I state that I did not find any positive response from the Chief Minister,” says the affidavit.
Right from the morning of the “Gujarat Bandh” day on February 28, he had been getting reports from his party leaders from different parts of the State that the police were “conniving” with the rioters, Chaudhary said. Even while raising questions about Mr. Modi's alleged “instructions” to police officers the previous night to “allow Hindus to vent their anger,” Chaudhary said the reports he received from his sources clearly indicated that the police were not coming to the aid of the riot victims.
As a former Chief Minister and Home Minister, he also found that the Modi administration's preparations for meeting a grave situation like the “Gujarat Bandh” in the aftermath of the Godhra train carnage were far from adequate, said Chaudhary. He was shocked to learn from Mr. Modi himself that only two companies of paramilitary forces had been deployed to assist the police on the bandh day. “I, as Chief Minister, was deploying over 100 companies of paramilitary forces for the sensitive annual Rathyatra day, while this government had only two companies on the Bandh day, the call for which was given to avenge the deaths of kar sevaks in the train carnage the previous day,” said Chaudhary.