Former Gujarat minister of state for home Gordhan Zadafia on Tuesday told the Nanavati Commission that he had neither visited any riot relief camp, nor any riot-hit areas in 2002, in the aftermath of the Godhra train burning incident.
Zadafia made this statement during his two-hour cross-examination before the Gujarat riots-probe-panel of retd Justice G T Nanavati and Akshay Mehta, with regard to 2002 riots, by the counsel for the Central Relief Committee (CRC), I M Munshi.
Last month as well, the former minister had been cross-examined at length by the Jan Sangharsh Manch, representing some of the riot victims and the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee.
Today, when asked by Munshi, if he had visited any relief camp or riot-infested area in 2002, Zadafia said that he had never visited any of the two places.
When further quizzed, if, as a minister, he had made any appeal to the people to maintain peace and harmony, Zadafia said he had not made any such efforts.
Zadafia admitted that on February 27, 2002, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and former VHP general Jaydeep Patel had reached Godhra before him.
When asked if Modi had visited the place where the postmortem of the victims of the Godhra train burning incident was taking place, Zadafia answered in the affirmative and said that he, too, had accompanied Modi there.
On the question that if he had issued any written orders to the state police officers to take preventive measures in the wake of the Godhra carnage, where 59 'karsevaks' were killed, Zadafia replied in the negative. "All the directions were given orally, over telephone," he said.
He added that he had not held any meeting with Ahmedabad Police Commissioner P C Pande on February 28, 2002.
Regarding the media coverage of the riots, Zadafia said that he was aware of it through newspapers. When asked if he had sought any report on this, he said it was not his business.
On records of the 2002 riots period, Zadafia said it was not his subject and such records could be available with the concerned department of the government.
He also said that in the initial few days of the riots he was present only in one of the meetings called by the chief minister. When asked who attended the meeting, Zadafia said he does not remember.
Zadafia also said that he was unaware that Jaydeep Patel of VHP had given a call for bandh on February 28, 2002, while he was in Godhra on the day of the carnage. He said that he had come to know about it later.
During his cross-examination in January, Zadafia had told the Nanavati Commission that the decision to bringing back bodies of those killed in the 2002 Godhra train burning incident, to Ahmedabad could have been taken by Modi and senior minister late Ashok Bhatt.
Zadafia had also revealed that he had not instructed former minister I K Jadeja to go to DGP office on February 28, 2002, which was contrary to the latter's statement before the same Commission.
He also refuted the allegations made by the suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt that he was lying about not having knowledge of the emerging tense situation in various places of the city including the Gulburg society.