Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the then law minister late Ashok Bhatt had taken the decision to send the bodies of victims of the 2002 Godhra train carnage to Ahmedabad,the then Minister of State (Home) Gordhan Zadaphia told the Justice Nanavati-Mehta Commission on Friday.
While claiming loss of memory or ignorance on most other issues related to the subsequent riots,he belied the claim of the then BJP MLA and minister I K Jadeja that he was asked by Zadaphia to remain present at the DGPs office on February 28,2002. Not at all, he said,adding that he had not asked Jadeja to go anywhere on that day.
After recording his in-camera deposition,the Commission allowed different parties to cross-examine Zadaphia. He was questioned by advocate Mukul Sinha on behalf of Jan Sangharsh Manch and advocate Hiralal Gupta on behalf of Congress.
The former minister said he had gone to Godhra on February 27,2002 when the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was attacked,killing 59 kar sevaks by a mob. He said Modi and Ashok Bhatt were also there and that they decided to send the bodies to Ahmedabad. Replying specifically to a question,he said the bodies identification was not done.
Apart from these,Zadaphia chose not to answer most questions posed to him while claiming loss of memory or ignorance on those questions. He did so on questions like whom did the police and intelligence bureau report on issues of internal security,if he received or dialed calls from/to VHP office in Ahmedabad or from some of the accused in the riots cases and the nature of conversations,if he was aware of the meetings held by the CM on February 27 & 28,when did VHP give the bandh call for February 28,if BJP had supported the call and if the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajapayee had visited Shah-e-Alam Relief Camp in Ahmedabad after the riots.
Zadaphia also denied to have received any letter from IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt on February 28 with reference to either Gulberg Society or Naroda massacres. He said he was not aware of the massacres when it actually happened. He expressed opinion that he does not think the riots broke out in Ahmedabad on February 28 because the bodies were brought to the city first and given to their relatives.
Meanwhile,the Commission did not allow a question by Gupta who asked Zadaphia if the CM was responsible for all that happened at Godhra and the subsequent riots since he took all the decisions related to the same.
When Gupta said he was asking Zadaphias opinion on the same,Commission chairman Justice G T Nanavati said,He (Zadaphia) has not been asked to give opinion. If he gives opinion then what is left for the Commission to find out?
Justice Nanavati also stated that he can cancel the permission to cross-examine Zadaphia because it is not to assist the Commission but for some other reason.