Special Correspondent

Banerjee report contradicts RPF's

Demands action against Lalu PrasadAppointment of probe panel "unconstitutional"Report submitted with an eye on Assembly polls

AHMEDABAD: Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh said on Saturday that the U.C. Banerjee Commission's report on the Godhra train carnage was "politically motivated." He demanded action against Railway Minister Lalu Prasad for adopting "unconstitutional methods" in appointing the Commission.

Talking to mediapersons here, Mr. Singh said there was no provision for the appointment of another commission or committee to inquire into an incident for which a constitutionally-appointed commission was already engaged. Justice G.T. Nanavati had been appointed to head the Godhra probe panel on the recommendation of the Supreme Court. The appointment of the Banerjee commission was "totally unconstitutional," for which Mr. Lalu Prasad should be "punished."

RPF report

The conclusion of the Banerjee Commission that the fire in the train was "accidental" was in "direct contradiction" of the Railway Protection Force's preliminary report, which mentioned a "mob attacking and setting fire" to the ill-fated coach. The RPF also said the mob bolted the exit doors of the coach from outside and threw stones to prevent the passengers from escaping.

Mr. Singh said the report was "politically motivated" and had been submitted just before the Assembly elections in five States. He pointed out that the commission had submitted its interim report on the eve of the Bihar Assembly elections.

"Absurd, illogical"

In Delhi, party spokesman Prakash Javadekar said the Banerjee report was "absurd, illogical and politically motivated."

At a press conference, he said the party regretted that a retired senior judge lent himself to "political manoeuvring." The United Progressive Alliance Government's plan to use the report for campaigning in the coming State elections would "fall flat."

The appointment of the Banerjee Commission was not only "unnecessary" but also "politically motivated" as the Nanavati panel was going into the incident. Also, the Banerjee panel report had no legal basis, Mr. Javadekar said.