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Salute to a serving officer

01 Jul 2007
 
The extent of state complicity in planning and executing the genocide in Gujarat has been exposed by the courageous and persistent struggle by victim survivors backed by citizens’ legal rights groups and reinforced by the overwhelming official data that was placed in the public domain. Two policemen stand out for performing this invaluable service, RB Sreekumar and Rahul Sharma. The state has attempted to teach the first a lesson, unsuccessful so far due to the man’s forbearance, sense of humour and courage. CC salutes the second while recording in detail his significant contribution to the pursuit of truth.

Rahul Sharma



Showing rare courage, Rahul Sharma, then superintendent of police, Bhavnagar (currently with the CBI), led his men from the front to prevent an attack on a boarding school that housed more than 400 Muslim children on March 1, 2002. Needless to say, he was transferred out of Bhavnagar soon thereafter. Sharma filed an affidavit before the Nanavati-Shah Commission in July 2002 and testified before the commission in October 2004.

His affidavit narrates the tale of collusion between sections of the law and order machinery and communal elements from the ruling BJP, RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal. He annexes a letter that he had written to the then state DGP, K. Chakravarti, on March 24, 2002. This relates to an incident that took place in Bhavnagar on March 23, 2002 when a local madrassa was under attack by a mob, following which 21 accused were arrested by the police.

"Following the arrest of the 21 accused in connection with the offence, about 200 women went to the police station that very evening along with the local leaders demanding that the accused be presented before the magistrate immediately and well before the 24 hours that the police could keep them in custody. The city DySP and the PI (police inspector) of ‘A’ division police station assured the leaders and the womenfolk that they would be presented before the magistrate on the same day."

Sharma remarks that there was something peculiar about the entire incident. A day before (i.e. on March 22, 2002) an unfounded rumour that some Hindu children had been kidnapped by a Muslim from the school had caused tension that led to all business establishments being closed down. The next day, on March 23, as things began to return to normal, a sudden incident disrupted the tenuous calm. Sharma says he was convinced the incident "was pre-planned and premeditated". He says in his letter that he also feared that these antisocial elements could be operating at the behest of some political masters who had assured them of all legal aid, including an early release from custody. Sharma felt "it was a well thought of plan to keep the communal issue alive till such time elections were to be announced". (On March 21, a BJP leader told Sharma that elections were now a "near certainty".)

In his letter to the DGP, Sharma goes on to firmly state that "a message should not be conveyed to the public in general that you can indulge in rioting, arson and stone pelting and can get away with it if you know someone well enough in the government, or, worse still, it you are acting at the behest of those persons. Such an impression about the police would be catastrophic for the district. In Bhavnagar, till date, there is no charge of a partisan role being played by the police."

Sharma put his foot down and insisted that the accused would have to spend a day in the lock-up. Again, he was approached by "some prominent political figures urging me (Sharma) to assist in securing an early bail for the accused". Sharma did not oblige.

The affidavit puts down in detail the repeated attempts made by politically powerful persons to attack and burn down the Akwada Madressa in Bhavnagar and also to attack other Muslim dominated areas of the city from March 1, 2002 onwards. Sharma states clearly that if necessary action had not been taken and adequate use of force not been deployed by him and his men, the number of deaths would have been enormous and "innocent people would have lost their lives".

Concerned with placing all the facts before the commission, Sharma has enclosed, with his affidavit, a list of persons who died during the communal incidents, a list of persons who died or were injured in police firing, detailed reports and records of police firings and records of messages received and sent by wireless. Put together these contain a minefield of information on the extent to which the political class and sections of the bureaucracy and the police went in their attempts to subvert the law and enact the genocide.

In his deposition before the commission, Sharma states (as he did earlier in his affidavit) that he had recommended action against the Sandesh newspaper for publication of inflammatory material on February 28, 2002. He also stated that he had ordered the arrest of Kishore Bhatt, Bhavnagar’s Shiv Sena chief, who was among those who made inflammatory speeches in Bhavnagar. For his courage and for being true to his professional calling, Sharma was transferred out of Bhavnagar to Ahmedabad city, as DCP (control room).

In his new post he was entrusted with the work of assisting in the investigations being conducted by the crime branch of the Ahmedabad police commissionerate. He was specifically asked by PC Pande, then police commissioner (CP) of Ahmedabad, to assist in the investigation of Naroda Patiya and Gulberg Society cases which were being handled by SS Chudasama, then assistant commissioner of police (ACP) in the Ahmedabad Crime Branch. (Chudasama, incidentally, is one of the policemen who have been implicated in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Kauserbi encounter cases.) Sharma states that in all these sensitive cases, "more and more political leaders were being involved". It was in the course of these investigations that the joint CP (JCP) (crime branch), PP Pandey, had ordered investigations into the telephone records.

Sharma then told the commission that on the night of May 27/28, 2002 some accused involved in the Naroda Patiya and Gulberg Society incidents were arrested. By now, KR Kaushik had been brought in as CP, Ahmedabad. Sharma was not kept informed of the arrests, to which he objected. Thereafter, Kaushik issued instructions to PP Pandey that Sharma should be kept informed. Neither Kaushik nor Sharma were happy with the first charge sheet that was filed in the Gulberg Society case on June 3, 2002 and the CP communicated this to Pandey immediately.

The very next day, on June 4, Pandey called Sharma for a meeting. He then called for the Naroda Patiya case papers. Sharma was shown all the investigation papers and the JCP asked him to assess whether the investigation was being conducted properly. Initially Sharma said he needed time to make an assessment but Pandey insisted he should do it right away. According to the charge sheet, the violence in Naroda took place "because one person ran over a person of another community by a truck, whole mob got provoked and thereafter serious incidents had happened". (The charge sheet filed in the Gulberg Society case claimed that the gruesome massacre was precipitated by Ahsan Jaffri’s firing on the mob that had collected outside.) This did not seem convincing to Rahul Sharma.

He stated on oath: "There was serious difference of opinion between me and Mr Pandey and other investigating officers i.e. Mr Vanzara and Mr Chudasama and the discussion had lasted for about two hours… I had told them that since they were the investigating officers and Mr Pandey was superior, it was for them to decide what to do. Whatever difference I had was put in writing by me and handed over to Mr Kaushik by way of a letter dated June 4, 2002." Sharma produced this letter before the commission.

Police Commissioner Kaushik, who was not satisfied with the charge sheet that had been filed, called Sharma about 10 or 15 days later. He told Sharma to scrutinise the case papers of both cases thoroughly and point out the discrepancies to him. Kaushik instructed Pandey to send the case papers of these two cases to his office. After Pandey had brought the case papers and produced them before Kaushik, photocopies were prepared and they were handed over to Sharma.

“A message should not be conveyed to the public in general that you can indulge in rioting, arson and stone pelting and can get away with it if you know someone well enough in the government, or, worse still, it you are acting at the behest of those persons” – Rahul Sharma

Sharma then makes some startling assessments about the case papers. He says he noticed that the FIR and the charge sheet were mutually inconsistent. This was true of both the Gulberg massacre case as well as the Naroda Patiya and Gaon carnage cases. Sharma states on oath that in his assessment the firing by (Ahsan) Jaffri was not the cause for the subsequent attack on residents of Gulberg Society. In his assessment of the Naroda Patiya case, the incident with the truck was not the reason for the violence that followed. Sharma says that his assessment was based on a close reading of the FIRs and the case papers that were supplied to him.

On July 5, 2002, Sharma was once again transferred because, no doubt, of his honesty and candour. He could not therefore communicate this assessment to the then CP, KR Kaushik.

Rahul Sharma’s tale is one of guarded honesty before the commission.

Dial M for murder

In October 2004, when Sharma appeared before the Nanavati-Shah Commission and submitted two CDs with more than five lakh entries of calls made to and from the mobile phones of Gujarat’s policemen, this blew the lid off one more facet of state complicity. Despite this staggering evidence, two-and-a-half-years later, neither the Nanavati-Shah Commission, nor the Gujarat High Court, nor the apex court has ordered any suo motu investigation into these revelations. Why is the Indian system so reluctant, or lackadaisical, to pinpoint the guilty?

The CDs contain records of all cellphone calls made in Ahmedabad over the first five days of the genocide when a city racked by violence, witnessed some of the worst massacres. Until October 2004, these telephone records lay with the Gujarat police.

Jaideep Patel, general secretary, Gujarat VHP

Jaideep Patel is a pathologist by profession. His name appeared in 14 FIRs filed immediately after the Naroda massacre. He was seen by eyewitnesses, leading and instructing mobs to attack, rape, kill and burn. When these FIRs were clubbed with dozens of others – an act carried out by Ahmedabad’s notorious crime branch, under officers Tarun Barot and DG Vanzara – Patel’s name, as also that of the BJP MLA and co-accused, Maya Kodnani, mysteriously disappeared.

The evidence contained in the CD could prove a nightmare for Jaideep Patel. They contain records of all cellphone calls made in Ahmedabad from February 25, 2002 to March 4. The records begin two days before the horrific attack on the Sabarmati Express and include the five dreadful days that saw the worst communal carnage in recent history.

Investigations carried out first by The Indian Express and recently by NGOs in Gujarat and outside show that Patel was in touch with the key riot accused, top police officers, including the police commissioner, top government officials, and even the chief minister’s office while Naroda burned. These CDs, obtained by the crime branch of the Ahmedabad police as far back as April 2004, now sit with the Nanavati-Shah Commission. Although these are records of calls made, not transcripts of actual conversations, they reveal:
  • How the riot accused were in constant touch with politicians, police officers and government officials. All at a time when the city and the state were burning, as the Narendra Modi government looked the other way and the opposition’s Congress party slumbered.
  • Using cellphone tower locations, the data also provides information on the physical locations of both the caller and the recipient.

Records show that Patel, a resident of Naroda, was in Naroda when the massacre began. He then left for Bapunagar, which also witnessed killings, to return to Naroda after a while. Patel was in touch with other riot accused, Babu Bajrangi, Ashok Govind Patel, Bipin Patel and local BJP MLA, Maya Kodnani.

Excerpts from the cellphone records of Jaideep Patel

February 27, 2002

Sabarmati Express attacked at 8.05 a.m. Bandh called by VHP that evening. BJP backs the bandh. Patel is in touch with senior police officials, his VHP colleagues in Delhi, state minister of state for home, Gordhan Zadaphiya, Gujarat BJP president, Rajendrasinh Rana.

• 11.09 a.m.: Patel leaves the city for Godhra.

• 12.48 p.m.: Patel is in Godhra. One of the first persons he speaks to is the Ahmedabad DCP (zone V), RJ Savani, who calls him at 1.05 p.m.

• 2.29 p.m.: Patel receives a call from a Delhi number and speaks for 215 seconds. The number is registered in the name of Bharatiya Sanskriti Pratishthan, Sector-6, RK Puram, New Delhi, the VHP headquarters.

• 3.30 p.m.: Patel calls state Gujarat BJP president, Rajendrasinh Rana, and speaks for 267 seconds. At 4 p.m. the VHP calls for a Gujarat bandh the next day. The BJP quickly declares its support.

• 5.00 p.m.: Patel receives a call from Bharatiya Sanskriti Pratishthan, New Delhi, and speaks for 357 seconds.

• 5.07 p.m.: Patel again receives a call from this Delhi institution.

• 5.14 p.m.: DCP Savani calls Patel and speaks for 117 seconds.

• 5.17 p.m.: DCP Savani again calls Patel.

• 8.03 p.m.: Patel receives a call from state minister of state for home, Gordhan Zadaphiya, and speaks for 159 seconds.

• 8.39 p.m.: Patel calls Zadaphiya.

• 9.13 p.m.: Patel calls Zadaphiya again, this time for just 3 seconds.

• 9.16 p.m.: DCP Savani calls Patel and speaks for 138 seconds.

• 9.20 p.m.: Patel again calls Zadaphiya and speaks for 186 seconds.

• After 11.58 p.m.: Patel leaves Godhra for Ahmedabad with the bodies of 58 persons who were killed in coach S-6 of the Sabarmati Express.

February 28, 2002

Ahmedabad erupts. Naroda Patiya is the scene of the worst massacre. Patel is in touch with the Naroda corporator minutes before the massacre begins.

• 2.34 a.m.: Patel enters Ahmedabad with 58 bodies of the Godhra victims, heads for Sola Civil Hospital.

• 9.17 a.m.: Patel calls the state health minister, Ashok Bhatt, and 10 minutes later, leaves for Naroda.

• 10.11 a.m.: Patel reaches Naroda and at 10.52 a.m. calls one Ashok Govind Patel of Naroda and speaks to him for 80 seconds.

(Ashok Govind Patel, who was in constant contact with Jaideep Patel through that period, is a BJP corporator from Naroda and an accused in the killing of eight persons in Naroda on February 28, 2002. He is also a co-accused in the case in which Jaideep Patel was named as an accused, one that was later closed by the crime branch.)

• 11.05 a.m.: Patel receives a call from a cellphone that was allegedly being used by the prime accused in the Naroda Patiya massacre, Babu Bajrangi.

(The phone is registered in the name of one Priyanka Mahendra Pandya, B/3 Pragat Ghanshyam Society, Ranip. Records reveal that the phone had been carried to Godhra the previous day and was located in the Naroda area from the morning of February 28, 2002 until 8.28 p.m. that night. When The Sunday Express, contacted Mahendra Pandya, father of Priyanka Pandya, he said: "I have been using this cell number for more than a year. Three years ago, it was with Babubhai (Babu Bajrangi)."



According to the police FIR, the attacks in Naroda Patiya began at 11 a.m. and went on until 8 p.m.

• 11.12 a.m.: Ashok Patel calls Patel again.

• 11.21 a.m.: Jaideep Patel leaves for Bapunagar area. This was one of the areas in the city that witnessed unprecedented violence. The maximum number of deaths in private firing was reported from this area. The area fell under DCP Savani’s jurisdiction.

• 11.32 a.m.: Patel reaches Bapunagar and calls Zadaphiya.

• 11.37 a.m.: Key accused in the Naroda Patiya massacre, Bipin Panchal alias Bipin Auto, calls Patel and speaks for 62 seconds.

• 11.40 a.m.: Patel calls DCP (zone IV) PB Gondia, under whose jurisdiction Naroda Patiya and Gulberg Society fall, and speaks for 85 seconds. Seventy persons, including ex-Congress MP Ahsan Jaffri, were killed in Gulberg.

• 11.52 a.m.: Patel again calls DCP Gondia and this time speaks for 106 seconds.

• 11.55 a.m.: Patel calls Ashok Patel and speaks for 63 seconds.

• 12.01 p.m.: Ashok Patel calls back.

• 12.07 p.m.: Patel calls Ashok Patel and speaks for 71 seconds.

• 12.10 p.m.: Patel calls Naroda BJP MLA, Maya Kodnani, and speaks for 79 seconds.

• 12.20 p.m.: Patel calls DCP Gondia and speaks for 42 seconds.

• 12.25 p.m.: Patel returns to Naroda.

• 12.39 p.m.: Patel returns to Bapunagar area.

• 12.57 p.m.: Patel receives call from the cellphone being used by Babu Bajrangi.

• 1.00 p.m.: Bipin Panchal calls Patel and speaks for 86 seconds.

• 1.17 p.m.: Bajrangi calls again.

• 1.19 p.m.: Bipin Panchal calls.

• 1.23 p.m.: Bipin Panchal calls again.

• 1.43 p.m.: Bipin Panchal calls again and speaks for 72 seconds.

• 3.25 p.m.: Patel receives a call from the chief minister’s office and speaks for 141 seconds.

• 7.20 p.m.: Patel receives a call from a cellphone registered in the name of Sanjay Bhavsar of the general administration department, government of Gujarat, and speaks for 102 seconds.

• 7.24 p.m.: Bhavsar calls again.

• 7.28 p.m.: Patel calls Bhavsar.

• 7.31 p.m.: For the first time in the day, Patel calls the CP, Ahmedabad, PC Pande, and speaks for 47 seconds.

• 8.29 p.m.: Patel returns to Naroda area.

• 9.11 p.m.: Patel receives a call from Tanmay Mehta, personal assistant (PA) to the chief minister. The conversation lasts 209 seconds.

• 11.32 p.m.: State BJP president, Rajendrasinh Rana, calls Patel and speaks for 13 seconds.

By midnight, senior police officers, including the JCP, MK Tandon, had reached Naroda Patiya. The massacre over, survivors were being moved to hospitals and relief camps hastily set up by the Muslim community at Shah Alam and Dariya Khan Gummat. Meanwhile, another massacre had also taken place in Gulberg Society. Union defence minister, George Fernandes, arrives in town. The death toll in Ahmedabad alone was 125 and counting.



Certain key questions arise:
  • Why was the home minister, Gordhan Zadaphiya, in touch with Jaideep Patel?
  • Why did the chief minister’s office contact Jaideep Patel?
  • Did the crime branch study the cellphone records before closing the case against Patel?
  • Will the review panel, set up at the behest of the Supreme Court, look into these records while scrutinising the 2,100 closed riot cases?

Maya Kodnani, BJP MLA, Naroda

Kodnani is a practising gynaecologist whose clinic is barely a kilometre from the site of the Naroda Patiya massacre. The BJP MLA from Naroda, Kodnani was also named in an FIR and her name was subsequently dropped as an accused when the FIRs were illegally clubbed. She was seen by eyewitnesses, leading and instructing mobs to attack, rape, kill and burn.

A study of Kodnani’s cellphone, which is still in use, reveals that like fellow accused and VHP leader Jaideep Patel, the BJP leader too had been camping in the Naroda area until the evening of February 28, 2002, and was in close contact with those accused in the massacre, police officers, top politicians and VHP leaders, including the brother of VHP international general secretary, Praveen Togadia, and other accused from the area.

The attacks in Naroda began at 11 a.m. and went on until 8 p.m.

Excerpts from the cellphone records of Maya Kodnani

February 28, 2002

• 7.53 a.m.: Kodnani leaves her residence for Gandhinagar.

• 9.57 a.m.: Kodnani returns from Gandhinagar and heads straight for Sola Civil Hospital.

• 10.37 a.m.: Kodnani calls the office of the ACP (G Division), MT Rana, under whose jurisdiction Naroda and Meghaninagar fall.

• 10.39 a.m.: Kodnani calls the official cellphone of the DCP (zone IV), PB Gondia, Rana’s immediate boss.

• 11.23 a.m.: Kodnani leaves Sola Civil Hospital.

• 11.55 a.m.: Kodnani is in Shahibaug area (where she lives) when she receives a call from Dinesh Togadia, brother of VHP leader, Praveen Togadia, and speaks for 128 seconds.

• 12.10 p.m.: VHP general secretary, Jaideep Patel calls Kodnani. Patel was also named as an accused in the Naroda massacre until the case was closed by the police.

• 12.21 p.m.: Kodnani receives a call from Nimesh Patel, a resident of Saijapur Bogha area, adjoining the Naroda Patiya locality. Patel is one of those accused in the killing of eight persons at Naroda village. After the call, Kodnani heads towards Naroda.

• 12.37 p.m.: Kodnani reaches Naroda.

• 12.40 p.m.: Nimesh Patel calls Kodnani.

• 2.10 p.m.: Kodnani receives a call from Sri Swami Vivekanand Karnavati Charitable Trust, Maninagar, and speaks for 134 seconds.

• 2.33 p.m.: Kodnani receives a call from the official residence of state education minister, Anandiben Patel, in Gandhinagar.

• 2.53 p.m.: Kodnani receives a call from the office of the chief whip of the BJP legislative party.

• 3.31 p.m.: Kodnani receives a call from Ashok Govind Patel of Naroda and speaks for 91 seconds. As mentioned earlier, the BJP corporator, Ashok Patel, was a co-accused in the same case as Jaideep Patel.

• 4.09 p.m.: Kodnani leaves Naroda area and heads for Shahibaug.

A study of Kodnani’s cellphone, which is still in use, reveals that like fellow accused and VHP leader Jaideep Patel, the BJP leader too had been camping in the Naroda area until the evening of February 28, 2002, and was in close contact with those accused in the massacre

• 4.52 p.m.: Kodnani calls the DCP (zone V), RJ Savani, under whose jurisdiction widespread violence was reported from Bapunagar, Odhav, Amraiwadi and Hatkeshwar areas.

• 4.53 p.m.: Kodnani calls DCP (zone VI), BS Jebalia, under whose jurisdiction riots were reported from Vatwa, Danilimda and Kagdapith areas.

• 4.55 p.m.: Kodnani calls the ACP (sector I), Shivanand Jha, whose jurisdiction encompasses the western areas of the city, the worst affected areas within his jurisdiction being Paldi, Vejalpur and Navrangpura.

• 5.01 p.m.: Kodnani receives a call from Delhi.

• 5.46 p.m.: State BJP president, Rajendrasinh Rana calls Kodnani.

• 7.03 p.m.: Nimesh Patel calls Kodnani.

According to the police FIR of the Naroda Patiya massacre and the Naroda killings, the attacks started at 11 a.m. and went on till 8 p.m.

Gulberg Society, Chamanpura, Meghaninagar, Ahmedabad

At about 7 a.m. on February 28, 2002, a mob started to attack the predominantly minority inhabited Gulberg Society, barely a few kilometres from the police commissionerate. The onslaught lasted over nine hours during which about 70 persons were massacred and 15 women were gang-raped. Former parliamentarian from the Congress party, Ahsan Jaffri, was among those killed. Jaffri made over 200 calls to top leaders, seeking help. No one responded. The then CP, Ahmedabad, PC Pande visited Jaffri at around 10.30 a.m. and convinced him not to seek refuge elsewhere along with the 70 other Muslims who had sought shelter in his home. The attack intensified after Pande had left.

As DCP (zone IV), PB Gondia was the DCP in charge of both areas – Meghaninagar and Naroda – which together marked the most horrific day in the post-Godhra violence. Gondia’s cellphone records show that he spent a lot of time in areas outside his jurisdiction which reported little violence. They also show that he was in constant touch with the riot accused, including Nimesh Patel, who is accused in the Naroda killings. He was also in touch with accused, Jaideep Patel, VHP’s Gujarat general secretary and local BJP MLA, Maya Kodnani, and state revenue minister, Haren Pandya.

Excerpts from the cellphone records of DCP PB Gondia

February 28, 2002

• 10.39 a.m.: Just as DCP PB Gondia, reaches Naroda area, he receives a call from Naroda BJP MLA, Maya Kodnani. The call lasts 57 seconds.

• 11.05 a.m.: Gondia calls the JCP, MK Tandon’s office.

• 11.40 a.m.: Gondia, who is in Thakkarnagar, near Naroda, receives a call from VHP general secretary, Jaideep Patel – who was accused of leading a mob in Naroda – and speaks for 86 seconds.

• 11.52 a.m.: Jaideep Patel calls again. They speak for 107 seconds.

• 11.56 a.m.: Gondia calls Tandon and immediately moves to Naroda area.

• 12.20 p.m.: Jaideep Patel calls Gondia and speaks to him for 42 seconds.

• 12.35 p.m.: Gondia is in Meghaninagar area (Gulberg Society) and returns to Naroda by 12.53 p.m.

• 12.59 p.m.: Gondia calls the city police control room.

• Gondia remains in Naroda area till 1.44 p.m. At 1.53 p.m. he is in Meghaninagar area but leaves immediately and returns to Naroda. On the way, at 1.57 p.m., he receives a call from Tandon.

• 2.13 p.m.: Gondia is again in Meghaninagar area from where he calls Nimesh Patel, an accused in the Naroda village killings. Fifteen minutes later Gondia is in Naroda.

• 2.46 p.m.: Gondia returns to Meghaninagar and calls ACP MT Rana. Within five minutes, he leaves for the police commissionerate and reaches there by 2.55 p.m.

• 3.01 p.m.: Nimesh Patel calls Gondia.

• 3.11 p.m.: Gondia has left the police commissionerate and heads for Revdi Bazaar, an area which does not fall under his jurisdiction, where little violence has been reported.

• 3.16 p.m.: Gondia receives calls from the CP, PC Pande.

• Gondia remains at Revdi Bazaar until 4.03 p.m. and at 4.12 reaches Meghaninagar area.

• 5.05 p.m.: Gondia receives a call from the residence of Naroda BJP MLA, Maya Kodnani. The call lasts 81 seconds. Gondia is in Meghaninagar area.

• 5.15 p.m.: ACP Rana calls Gondia and speaks to him for 101 seconds.

• 5.24 p.m. and 5.29 p.m.: Gondia receives calls from the official residence of the revenue minister, Haren Pandya.

• 6.55 p.m.: Nimesh Patel calls Gondia.

• 10.06 p.m.: Gondia goes to Naroda area.

• 10.10 p.m.: Nimesh Patel calls Gondia.

State role

Cellphone records fill in the missing blanks. They show that the Ahmedabad police commissioner, PC Pande received several calls from the chief minister’s office throughout the day and in the hours leading up to their meeting. Who kept calling? Narendra Modi’s PA, Tanmay Mehta, and Modi’s additional principal secretary, Anil Mukim.

Excerpts from the cellphone records of the CP, Ahmedabad, PC Pande

February 27, 2002

• 8.53 a.m. (within an hour of the Godhra train arson): Pande, who is at his residence, receives a call from the state minister of state for home, Gordhan Zadaphiya.

• 11.05 a.m.: Pande is at his office and receives a call from the DGP, K. Chakravarti.

• 11.38 a.m.: Chakravarti calls again.

• 12.48 p.m.: Chakravarti calls again.

• 1.08 p.m.: Pande calls the Ahmedabad district collector, K. Srinivas.

• 1.53 p.m.: Zadaphiya calls Pande and speaks for 109 seconds.

• 2.59 p.m.: Pande receives a call from Tanmay Mehta, Narendra Modi’s PA.

• 3.35 p.m.: Pande receives a call from the chief minister’s additional principal secretary, Anil Mukim.

• 3.36 p.m.: Pande receives a call from Mehta. Half a minute later, Mukim calls again.

• 3.40 p.m.: Zadaphiya calls Pande.

• 3.50 p.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande.

• 5.02 p.m.: Pande receives a call from Mukim. He returns the call after a minute.

• 5.28 p.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande and speaks for 107 seconds.

• 6.03 p.m.: Pande receives a call from Mumbai and speaks for 154 seconds.

• 7.09 p.m.: Pande calls Mukim and speaks for 83 seconds.

• At 7.48 p.m. and 8.14 p.m.: Pande receives two calls from K. Srinivas.

• 8.26 p.m.: Pande receives a call from Sanjay Bhavsar, officer on special duty (OSD) to the chief minister.

• 9.13. p.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande and speaks for 52 seconds.

• 9.18 p.m. and 9.19 p.m.: Pande receives calls from Zadaphiya.

• 9.42 p.m.: Pande has left the city for Gandhinagar and is half way there.

February 28, 2002

• 12.35 a.m.: Pande returns from Gandhinagar and heads straight for his office. He stays there until about one a.m.

• 8.12 a.m.: Pande is back in office and receives a call from Chakravarti.

• 8.50 a.m.: Pande calls Chakravarti.

• 9.30 a.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande and speaks for 126 seconds.

• 9.44 a.m.: Pande receives a call from the JCP (sector II), MK Tandon. Three minutes later, Pande is on his way to Sola Civil Hospital.

• 10.56 a.m.: Pande returns to the police commissionerate.

• 11.05 a.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande. By this time mobs have taken to the streets. According to police records, the attack on Gulberg Society began at 7 a.m. while in Naroda Patiya it began at 11 a.m.

• 11.31 a.m.: Pande receives a call from Zadaphiya’s office.

• 11.40 a.m.: Tanmay Mehta, Narendra Modi’s PA, calls Pande.

• 11.43 a.m.: Pande receives a call from Tandon, who has already reached Meghaninagar area (where Gulberg Society is located).

• 11.56 a.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande.

• 12.06 p.m.: Pande calls Tandon and speaks for 75 seconds. Three minutes after this call, Tandon leaves Meghaninagar.

• 12.37 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande. By this time curfew has been imposed in the city.

• 1.21 p.m.: Mehta calls Pande.

• 1.22 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande.

• 1.45 p.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande and speaks for 116 seconds.

• 1.56 p.m.: Pande receives a call from the office of state minister for water supply, Narottam Patel, and speaks for 125 seconds.

• 2.02 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande and speaks for 125 seconds.

• 2.12 p.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande.

• 2.25 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande.

• 2.53 p.m.: Zadaphiya calls Pande.

• 3.09 p.m.: Pande receives a call from city MLA and state health minister, Ashok Bhatt.

• 3.16 p.m.: Pande calls the DCP (zone IV), PB Gondia, under whose jurisdiction the Gulberg Society and Naroda Patiya localities fall.

• 3.22 p.m.: Pande receives a call from city MLA and state energy minister, Kaushik Patel, and speaks for 60 seconds.

• 3.38 p.m.: Mehta calls Pande.

• 3.54 p.m.: Pande calls Gondia.

• 3.57 p.m.: Mehta calls Pande.

• 3.59 p.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande. Minutes later, Chakravarti is at Pande’s office.

• 5.16 p.m.: Pande receives a call from Zadaphiya, who has just left the police commissionerate.

• 5.17 p.m.: Pande receives a call from a cellphone registered in the name of AP Patel, general administration department, government of Gujarat.

• 5.50 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande.

• 6.31 p.m.: Pande receives a call from the official residence of Ashok Bhatt and speaks for 232 seconds.

• 6.51 p.m.: Pande receives a call from Chakravarti, who is by then at Gandhinagar.

• 7.09 p.m.: Pande reaches Meghaninagar area.

• 7.11 p.m.: Zadaphiya calls Pande.

• 7.26 p.m.: Mehta calls Pande.

• 7.31 p.m.: Pande receives a call from VHP leader and riot accused, Jaideep Patel. Pande leaves Meghaninagar area and goes back to his office.

• 8.52 p.m.: Pande calls Chakravarti and speaks for 110 seconds.

• 9.03 p.m.: Pande calls Anil Mukim, the chief minister’s additional principal secretary, and speaks for 229 seconds.

• 9.14 p.m.: Mukim calls Pande.

• 9.18 p.m.: Pande calls Chakravarti and speaks for 334 seconds.

• 10.27 p.m.: Mehta calls Pande.

Pande’s memory loss before the commission

Deposing before the Nanavati-Shah Commission on August 18, 2004, former CP, Ahmedabad city, PC Pande said he only heard about the Naroda Patiya violence at 9.30 p.m. on February 28, 2002, when "I received information that some persons had been killed there". And it was only when he went there at around 10 or 11 p.m. that he realised the "gravity" of the situation.

However, by 9.30 p.m., the Naroda massacre was long over. Eighty-three persons had already been killed and Pande’s cellphone records show that right through the afternoon, from 2.30 to 9 p.m., he was, in fact, in regular touch with two police officers in charge of the areas under which both Naroda Patiya and Gulberg Society fall.

During the last half hour of the massacre at Naroda, Pande even received a call from VHP state general secretary and riot accused, Jaideep Patel. Nevertheless, in his deposition before the Nanavati-Shah Commission, Pande said that he had not been "receiving any information regarding the serious incidents which followed after 2.30 p.m.".

Another point on which Pande claimed memory loss was the meeting called by the chief minister, Narendra Modi, on the night of the Godhra arson, hours after the VHP and the BJP had declared a bandh for the next day.

Lies before the commission

Joint CP (sector II), Ahmedabad, MK Tandon, who was in charge of areas that saw the worst two massacres, told the Nanavati-Shah Commission that he only heard about the attack on Gulberg Society at 2 p.m. on February 28. This was a massacre in which 70 people were killed, many of them burnt alive, including former Congress MP, Ahsan Jaffri. "I was not present when the mob was being dispersed as I had gone near the Gulberg Society at about 10.45 a.m. and then had gone to Naroda. I was in Naroda at about 12 p.m.," he deposed.

However, records of Tandon’s official cellphone reveal that between 11.34 a.m. and 12.09 p.m., he was in the Meghaninagar area (where Gulberg Society is).

From Meghaninagar, records show, he called up the DCP in charge of the area and the CP, PC Pande. (The attacks on Gulberg Society began at about 7 a.m. on February 28. Top police officers maintain however that they began much later, at about 10.30 that morning.)

He also told the commission that he only heard about the Naroda Patiya massacre at 9.30 p.m. "I do not know when the mob entered this Muslim locality and I also do not know if the police officials present on the spot tried to contact me during this time. I think that during this time, the telephone lines were jammed. I first came to know about this incident (Naroda Patiya) at 9.30 p.m. when I was in the Gulberg Society and immediately rushed there," he said.

But his cellphone details reveal that he was constantly in touch with the police officers who were in direct charge of the riot hit areas, and the police control room called him at least four times between 1.24 p.m. and 3.01 p.m.

Excerpts from the cellphone records of JCP (sector II) MK Tandon

February 27, 2002

• 9.50 a.m.: Tandon receives a call from the police control room.

• 10.05 a.m.: Tandon calls the police control room.

• 10.08 a.m.: Tandon again calls the police control room.

• 10.09 a.m.: Tandon calls the DCP (zone IV), PB Gondia. Immediately, he receives a call from the DCP (zone V), RJ Savani.

• 10.11 a.m.: Tandon receives a call from the DCP (zone VI), BS Jebalia.

• 10.12 a.m.: Savani calls Tandon.

• 10.17 a.m.: ACP MT Rana calls Tandon.

• 11.31 a.m.: Tandon reaches the commissionerate and calls Savani and speaks for 70 seconds.

• 11.56 a.m.: Savani calls Tandon and speaks for 160 seconds.

• 12.16 p.m.: Savani calls Tandon again.

• 12.57 p.m.: Tandon calls Jebalia.

• 12.58 p.m.: Tandon calls Savani and speaks for 128 seconds.

• 2.59 p.m.: Savani calls Tandon.

• 3.18 p.m.: Tandon calls Jebalia.

• 3.49 p.m.: Tandon again calls Jebalia and speaks for 84 seconds. Minutes later, Tandon leaves the commissionerate and goes to Revdi Bazaar, a communally sensitive area.

• 4.02 p.m.: Jebalia calls Tandon.

• 4.22 p.m.: Jebalia calls Tandon.

• 4.25 p.m.: Tandon calls Savani. Tandon goes to the New Cloth Market where the office of the DCP (zone VI) (BS Jebalia) is also situated.

• 4.39 p.m.: Tandon calls Savani.

• 5.20 p.m.: Tandon calls the CP, PC Pande and speaks for 104 seconds. Tandon leaves and heads towards Bapunagar and Naroda areas.

• 5.49 p.m.: Tandon calls Savani.

• 5.57 p.m.: Tandon receives a call from the police control room.

• 6.05 p.m.: Rana calls Tandon. Tandon is in Rakhial area.

• 6.46 p.m.: Tandon reaches Bapunagar and receives a call from Rana.

• 6.59 p.m.: Tandon reaches the Naroda area and calls Gondia.

• 7.17 p.m.: Tandon returns to the commissionerate.

• 8.42 p.m.: Tandon calls Savani and speaks for 232 seconds.

• 8.55 p.m.: Savani calls Tandon.

• 9.34 p.m.: Savani calls Tandon and speaks for 481 seconds.

• 10.32 p.m.: Savani calls Tandon and speaks for 100 seconds.

February 28, 2002

• 12.00 a.m.: Savani calls Tandon. Tandon immediately calls up then state minister of state for home, Gordhan Zadaphiya, and speaks for 133 seconds.

• Three minutes later, Savani calls Tandon and speaks for 96 seconds.

• 6.49 a.m.: Tandon receives a call from Delhi and speaks for 126 seconds.

• An hour later, Tandon speaks to his three DCPs, Gondia, Savani and Jebalia, at length.

• Between 9.20 a.m. and 9.36 a.m. Tandon speaks at length with Savani and Jebalia and then speaks to the CP, PC Pande.

• 11.20 a.m.: Tandon calls ACP MT Rana of Meghaninagar and Naroda areas.

• 11.34 a.m.: Tandon reaches Meghaninagar (where Gulberg Society is) and calls Gondia, under whose jurisdiction both the areas fall. Ten minutes later, he calls the CP and then makes two successive calls to the city police control room.

• 12.06 p.m.: Pande calls Tandon. Three minutes later Tandon leaves Meghaninagar area.

• 12.11 p.m.: Tandon reaches Naroda area.

DCP PB Gondia was in charge of both areas – Meghaninagar and Naroda – which together marked the most horrific day in the post-Godhra violence. Gondia’s cellphone records show that he spent a lot of time in areas outside his jurisdiction which reported little violence. They also show that he was in constant touch with the riot accused

• Between 12.14 p.m. and 12.18 p.m. Tandon makes three calls to Pande. At 12.26 p.m. he makes one call to the police control room.

• 12.33 p.m.: Savani calls Tandon, after which Tandon leaves Naroda.

• 12.37 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande.

• 12.41 p.m.: Tandon calls Rana. Tandon is travelling through Bapunagar, Rakhial, and reaches Relief Road at 1.56 p.m. Tandon remains in the Relief Road and Revdi Bazaar areas until about 4 p.m.

• While Tandon is not in any of the riot hit areas within his jurisdiction, his cellphone details reveal he was constantly in touch with the DCPs, Gondia, Savani and Jebalia, the police control room, the CP, PC Pande and the city mayor, Himmatsinh Patel, during this time. The police control room called him at least four times between 1.24 p.m. and 3.01 p.m.

• 4.12 p.m.: Tandon reaches the police commissionerate.

• 4.28 p.m.: Tandon reaches Meghaninagar area (Gulberg Society).

• 10.14 p.m.: Tandon visits Naroda area and leaves by 11.03 p.m.

Meanwhile, what did the police do when Jaffri was desperate for help?

Excerpts of the cellphone records of officers Pande, Tandon and Gondia have been deliberately repeated below to demonstrate how the calls made and received by them dovetail with those of other officers during the specific period when Ahsan Jaffri was so desperately seeking police assistance.

DGP K. Chakravarti:


• 11.56 p.m.: Chakravarti calls the CP, PC Pande, and speaks for 56 seconds.

• 12.18 p.m.: Chakravarti is in Gandhinagar; receives a call from the Ahmedabad district collector, K. Srinivas, and speaks for 59 seconds.

• 1.06 p.m.: Srinivas calls Chakravarti.

• 1.43 p.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande and speaks for 116 seconds.

• 1.48 p.m.: Chakravarti receives a call from Badruddin Sheikh (Congress leader and then chairperson, standing committee, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation) and speaks for 91 seconds.

• 2.01 p.m.: Sheikh calls Chakravarti again.

• 2.12 p.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande and speaks for 49 seconds.

• 3.50 p.m.: Chakravarti reaches the city and calls his office in Gandhinagar. (Jaffri is suspected to be dead by this time.)

• 3.51 p.m.: Chakravarti receives a call from the ADGP (law & order) and speaks for 132 seconds.

• 3.55 p.m.: Chakravarti reaches Shahibaug and calls Pande.

CP, PC Pande

• 11.56 p.m.: DGP Chakravarti calls Pande.

• 12.06 p.m.: Pande calls JCP MK Tandon and speaks for 75 seconds.

• 12.37 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande. By this time, curfew has been imposed in the city.

• 1.21 p.m.: Tanmay Mehta, Modi’s PA, calls Pande.

• 1.22 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande again.

• 1.45 p.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande again and speaks for 116 seconds.

• 2.02 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande for the third time and speaks for 125 seconds.

• 2.12 p.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande for the third time.

• 2.25 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande again.

• 2.53 p.m.: Pande receives a call from state minister of state for home, Gordhan Zadaphiya.

• 3.09 p.m.: Pande receives a call from the state health minister, Ashok Bhatt.

• 3.16 p.m.: Pande calls the DCP (zone IV), PB Gondia, under whose jurisdiction the Gulberg Society and Naroda Patiya localities fall.

• 3.38 p.m.: Mehta calls Pande.

• 3.54 p.m.: Pande calls Gondia.

• 3.57 p.m.: Mehta calls Pande again.

• 3.59 p.m.: Pande receives a fourth call from Chakravarti, who reaches Pande’s office minutes later.

Deposing before the Nanavati-Shah Commission, Pande said Jaffri was killed between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Joint CP MK Tandon

• 11.58 a.m.: Tandon calls police control room and speaks for 68 seconds. Has reached Meghaninagar, where Gulberg Society is, at 11.34 a.m.

• 12.06 p.m.: Pande receives a call from the CP, PC Pande. Three minutes later, Tandon leaves Meghaninagar area.

• 12.11 p.m.: Tandon reaches Naroda area.

• 12.14-12.18 p.m.: Makes three calls to Pande and one to the police control room at 12.26 p.m.

• 12.33 p.m.: Tandon leaves Naroda.

• 12.37 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande.

• 12.41 p.m.: Tandon reaches Bapunagar and calls ACP MT Rana, under whose jurisdiction Meghaninagar and Naroda fall.

• 1.06 p.m.: Tandon calls DCP PB Gondia and speaks for 60 seconds. He is then in Rakhial.

• 1.11 p.m.: Tandon calls the city mayor, Himmatsinh Patel, and speaks for 78 seconds.

• 1.22 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande and speaks for 54 seconds.

• 1.24 p.m.: Tandon receives a call from the police control room.

• 1.51 p.m.: Tandon reaches Revdi Bazaar and Relief Road.

• 1.57 p.m.: Tandon calls Gondia and speaks for 98 seconds.

• 1.59 p.m.: Tandon receives another call from the police control room.

• 2.02 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande and speaks for 124 seconds.

• 2.25 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande and speaks for 51 seconds.

• 2.52 p.m.: Tandon calls Himmatsinh Patel and speaks for 145 seconds.

• 2.57 p.m.: Tandon receives a third call from the police control room.

• 3.01 p.m.: Tandon receives a fourth call from the police control room.

• 3.30 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande and speaks for 72 seconds.

• 3.39 p.m.: Tandon receives a fifth call from the police control room.

• 3.40 p.m.: Tandon calls his office number at the police commissionerate.

• 4.12 p.m.: Tandon reaches the commissionerate.

• 4.28 p.m.: Tandon reaches Meghaninagar area.

DCP PB Gondia

• 11.52 a.m.: Gondia receives a call from VHP general secretary and riot accused, Jaideep Patel, and speaks for 107 seconds.

• 11.56 a.m.: Gondia calls JCP MK Tandon, moves to Naroda area.

• 12.20 p.m.: Jaideep Patel calls again and speaks for 42 seconds.

• 12.35 p.m.: Gondia is in Meghaninagar area, returns to Naroda by 12.53 p.m.

• 12.59 p.m.: Gondia calls the police control room.

• Gondia remains in Naroda area till 1.44 p.m.

At 1.53 p.m. Gondia is in Meghaninagar but returns to Naroda almost immediately. On the way, at 1.57 p.m., he receives a call from Tandon.

• 2.13 p.m.: Gondia is back in Meghaninagar from where he calls Nimesh Patel, an accused in the Naroda killings. Fifteen minutes later, Gondia is in Naroda.

• 2.46 p.m.: Gondia returns to Meghaninagar, calls ACP Rana. Within five minutes, he leaves for the police commissionerate, reaches by 2.55 p.m.

• 3.01 p.m.: Nimesh Patel calls Gondia.

• 3.11 p.m.: Leaves the police commissionerate but heads for Revdi Bazaar from where little violence has been reported.

• 3.16 p.m.: Gondia receives a call from the CP, PC Pande.

• Gondia remains at Revdi Bazaar till 4.03 and at 4.12 p.m. reaches Meghaninagar area.

Archived from Communalism Combat, July 2007 Year 13    No.124, Genocide's Aftermath Part II, State Complicity 5

Salute to a serving officer

 
The extent of state complicity in planning and executing the genocide in Gujarat has been exposed by the courageous and persistent struggle by victim survivors backed by citizens’ legal rights groups and reinforced by the overwhelming official data that was placed in the public domain. Two policemen stand out for performing this invaluable service, RB Sreekumar and Rahul Sharma. The state has attempted to teach the first a lesson, unsuccessful so far due to the man’s forbearance, sense of humour and courage. CC salutes the second while recording in detail his significant contribution to the pursuit of truth.

Rahul Sharma



Showing rare courage, Rahul Sharma, then superintendent of police, Bhavnagar (currently with the CBI), led his men from the front to prevent an attack on a boarding school that housed more than 400 Muslim children on March 1, 2002. Needless to say, he was transferred out of Bhavnagar soon thereafter. Sharma filed an affidavit before the Nanavati-Shah Commission in July 2002 and testified before the commission in October 2004.

His affidavit narrates the tale of collusion between sections of the law and order machinery and communal elements from the ruling BJP, RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal. He annexes a letter that he had written to the then state DGP, K. Chakravarti, on March 24, 2002. This relates to an incident that took place in Bhavnagar on March 23, 2002 when a local madrassa was under attack by a mob, following which 21 accused were arrested by the police.

"Following the arrest of the 21 accused in connection with the offence, about 200 women went to the police station that very evening along with the local leaders demanding that the accused be presented before the magistrate immediately and well before the 24 hours that the police could keep them in custody. The city DySP and the PI (police inspector) of ‘A’ division police station assured the leaders and the womenfolk that they would be presented before the magistrate on the same day."

Sharma remarks that there was something peculiar about the entire incident. A day before (i.e. on March 22, 2002) an unfounded rumour that some Hindu children had been kidnapped by a Muslim from the school had caused tension that led to all business establishments being closed down. The next day, on March 23, as things began to return to normal, a sudden incident disrupted the tenuous calm. Sharma says he was convinced the incident "was pre-planned and premeditated". He says in his letter that he also feared that these antisocial elements could be operating at the behest of some political masters who had assured them of all legal aid, including an early release from custody. Sharma felt "it was a well thought of plan to keep the communal issue alive till such time elections were to be announced". (On March 21, a BJP leader told Sharma that elections were now a "near certainty".)

In his letter to the DGP, Sharma goes on to firmly state that "a message should not be conveyed to the public in general that you can indulge in rioting, arson and stone pelting and can get away with it if you know someone well enough in the government, or, worse still, it you are acting at the behest of those persons. Such an impression about the police would be catastrophic for the district. In Bhavnagar, till date, there is no charge of a partisan role being played by the police."

Sharma put his foot down and insisted that the accused would have to spend a day in the lock-up. Again, he was approached by "some prominent political figures urging me (Sharma) to assist in securing an early bail for the accused". Sharma did not oblige.

The affidavit puts down in detail the repeated attempts made by politically powerful persons to attack and burn down the Akwada Madressa in Bhavnagar and also to attack other Muslim dominated areas of the city from March 1, 2002 onwards. Sharma states clearly that if necessary action had not been taken and adequate use of force not been deployed by him and his men, the number of deaths would have been enormous and "innocent people would have lost their lives".

Concerned with placing all the facts before the commission, Sharma has enclosed, with his affidavit, a list of persons who died during the communal incidents, a list of persons who died or were injured in police firing, detailed reports and records of police firings and records of messages received and sent by wireless. Put together these contain a minefield of information on the extent to which the political class and sections of the bureaucracy and the police went in their attempts to subvert the law and enact the genocide.

In his deposition before the commission, Sharma states (as he did earlier in his affidavit) that he had recommended action against the Sandesh newspaper for publication of inflammatory material on February 28, 2002. He also stated that he had ordered the arrest of Kishore Bhatt, Bhavnagar’s Shiv Sena chief, who was among those who made inflammatory speeches in Bhavnagar. For his courage and for being true to his professional calling, Sharma was transferred out of Bhavnagar to Ahmedabad city, as DCP (control room).

In his new post he was entrusted with the work of assisting in the investigations being conducted by the crime branch of the Ahmedabad police commissionerate. He was specifically asked by PC Pande, then police commissioner (CP) of Ahmedabad, to assist in the investigation of Naroda Patiya and Gulberg Society cases which were being handled by SS Chudasama, then assistant commissioner of police (ACP) in the Ahmedabad Crime Branch. (Chudasama, incidentally, is one of the policemen who have been implicated in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Kauserbi encounter cases.) Sharma states that in all these sensitive cases, "more and more political leaders were being involved". It was in the course of these investigations that the joint CP (JCP) (crime branch), PP Pandey, had ordered investigations into the telephone records.

Sharma then told the commission that on the night of May 27/28, 2002 some accused involved in the Naroda Patiya and Gulberg Society incidents were arrested. By now, KR Kaushik had been brought in as CP, Ahmedabad. Sharma was not kept informed of the arrests, to which he objected. Thereafter, Kaushik issued instructions to PP Pandey that Sharma should be kept informed. Neither Kaushik nor Sharma were happy with the first charge sheet that was filed in the Gulberg Society case on June 3, 2002 and the CP communicated this to Pandey immediately.

The very next day, on June 4, Pandey called Sharma for a meeting. He then called for the Naroda Patiya case papers. Sharma was shown all the investigation papers and the JCP asked him to assess whether the investigation was being conducted properly. Initially Sharma said he needed time to make an assessment but Pandey insisted he should do it right away. According to the charge sheet, the violence in Naroda took place "because one person ran over a person of another community by a truck, whole mob got provoked and thereafter serious incidents had happened". (The charge sheet filed in the Gulberg Society case claimed that the gruesome massacre was precipitated by Ahsan Jaffri’s firing on the mob that had collected outside.) This did not seem convincing to Rahul Sharma.

He stated on oath: "There was serious difference of opinion between me and Mr Pandey and other investigating officers i.e. Mr Vanzara and Mr Chudasama and the discussion had lasted for about two hours… I had told them that since they were the investigating officers and Mr Pandey was superior, it was for them to decide what to do. Whatever difference I had was put in writing by me and handed over to Mr Kaushik by way of a letter dated June 4, 2002." Sharma produced this letter before the commission.

Police Commissioner Kaushik, who was not satisfied with the charge sheet that had been filed, called Sharma about 10 or 15 days later. He told Sharma to scrutinise the case papers of both cases thoroughly and point out the discrepancies to him. Kaushik instructed Pandey to send the case papers of these two cases to his office. After Pandey had brought the case papers and produced them before Kaushik, photocopies were prepared and they were handed over to Sharma.

“A message should not be conveyed to the public in general that you can indulge in rioting, arson and stone pelting and can get away with it if you know someone well enough in the government, or, worse still, it you are acting at the behest of those persons” – Rahul Sharma

Sharma then makes some startling assessments about the case papers. He says he noticed that the FIR and the charge sheet were mutually inconsistent. This was true of both the Gulberg massacre case as well as the Naroda Patiya and Gaon carnage cases. Sharma states on oath that in his assessment the firing by (Ahsan) Jaffri was not the cause for the subsequent attack on residents of Gulberg Society. In his assessment of the Naroda Patiya case, the incident with the truck was not the reason for the violence that followed. Sharma says that his assessment was based on a close reading of the FIRs and the case papers that were supplied to him.

On July 5, 2002, Sharma was once again transferred because, no doubt, of his honesty and candour. He could not therefore communicate this assessment to the then CP, KR Kaushik.

Rahul Sharma’s tale is one of guarded honesty before the commission.

Dial M for murder

In October 2004, when Sharma appeared before the Nanavati-Shah Commission and submitted two CDs with more than five lakh entries of calls made to and from the mobile phones of Gujarat’s policemen, this blew the lid off one more facet of state complicity. Despite this staggering evidence, two-and-a-half-years later, neither the Nanavati-Shah Commission, nor the Gujarat High Court, nor the apex court has ordered any suo motu investigation into these revelations. Why is the Indian system so reluctant, or lackadaisical, to pinpoint the guilty?

The CDs contain records of all cellphone calls made in Ahmedabad over the first five days of the genocide when a city racked by violence, witnessed some of the worst massacres. Until October 2004, these telephone records lay with the Gujarat police.

Jaideep Patel, general secretary, Gujarat VHP

Jaideep Patel is a pathologist by profession. His name appeared in 14 FIRs filed immediately after the Naroda massacre. He was seen by eyewitnesses, leading and instructing mobs to attack, rape, kill and burn. When these FIRs were clubbed with dozens of others – an act carried out by Ahmedabad’s notorious crime branch, under officers Tarun Barot and DG Vanzara – Patel’s name, as also that of the BJP MLA and co-accused, Maya Kodnani, mysteriously disappeared.

The evidence contained in the CD could prove a nightmare for Jaideep Patel. They contain records of all cellphone calls made in Ahmedabad from February 25, 2002 to March 4. The records begin two days before the horrific attack on the Sabarmati Express and include the five dreadful days that saw the worst communal carnage in recent history.

Investigations carried out first by The Indian Express and recently by NGOs in Gujarat and outside show that Patel was in touch with the key riot accused, top police officers, including the police commissioner, top government officials, and even the chief minister’s office while Naroda burned. These CDs, obtained by the crime branch of the Ahmedabad police as far back as April 2004, now sit with the Nanavati-Shah Commission. Although these are records of calls made, not transcripts of actual conversations, they reveal:
  • How the riot accused were in constant touch with politicians, police officers and government officials. All at a time when the city and the state were burning, as the Narendra Modi government looked the other way and the opposition’s Congress party slumbered.
  • Using cellphone tower locations, the data also provides information on the physical locations of both the caller and the recipient.

Records show that Patel, a resident of Naroda, was in Naroda when the massacre began. He then left for Bapunagar, which also witnessed killings, to return to Naroda after a while. Patel was in touch with other riot accused, Babu Bajrangi, Ashok Govind Patel, Bipin Patel and local BJP MLA, Maya Kodnani.

Excerpts from the cellphone records of Jaideep Patel

February 27, 2002

Sabarmati Express attacked at 8.05 a.m. Bandh called by VHP that evening. BJP backs the bandh. Patel is in touch with senior police officials, his VHP colleagues in Delhi, state minister of state for home, Gordhan Zadaphiya, Gujarat BJP president, Rajendrasinh Rana.

• 11.09 a.m.: Patel leaves the city for Godhra.

• 12.48 p.m.: Patel is in Godhra. One of the first persons he speaks to is the Ahmedabad DCP (zone V), RJ Savani, who calls him at 1.05 p.m.

• 2.29 p.m.: Patel receives a call from a Delhi number and speaks for 215 seconds. The number is registered in the name of Bharatiya Sanskriti Pratishthan, Sector-6, RK Puram, New Delhi, the VHP headquarters.

• 3.30 p.m.: Patel calls state Gujarat BJP president, Rajendrasinh Rana, and speaks for 267 seconds. At 4 p.m. the VHP calls for a Gujarat bandh the next day. The BJP quickly declares its support.

• 5.00 p.m.: Patel receives a call from Bharatiya Sanskriti Pratishthan, New Delhi, and speaks for 357 seconds.

• 5.07 p.m.: Patel again receives a call from this Delhi institution.

• 5.14 p.m.: DCP Savani calls Patel and speaks for 117 seconds.

• 5.17 p.m.: DCP Savani again calls Patel.

• 8.03 p.m.: Patel receives a call from state minister of state for home, Gordhan Zadaphiya, and speaks for 159 seconds.

• 8.39 p.m.: Patel calls Zadaphiya.

• 9.13 p.m.: Patel calls Zadaphiya again, this time for just 3 seconds.

• 9.16 p.m.: DCP Savani calls Patel and speaks for 138 seconds.

• 9.20 p.m.: Patel again calls Zadaphiya and speaks for 186 seconds.

• After 11.58 p.m.: Patel leaves Godhra for Ahmedabad with the bodies of 58 persons who were killed in coach S-6 of the Sabarmati Express.

February 28, 2002

Ahmedabad erupts. Naroda Patiya is the scene of the worst massacre. Patel is in touch with the Naroda corporator minutes before the massacre begins.

• 2.34 a.m.: Patel enters Ahmedabad with 58 bodies of the Godhra victims, heads for Sola Civil Hospital.

• 9.17 a.m.: Patel calls the state health minister, Ashok Bhatt, and 10 minutes later, leaves for Naroda.

• 10.11 a.m.: Patel reaches Naroda and at 10.52 a.m. calls one Ashok Govind Patel of Naroda and speaks to him for 80 seconds.

(Ashok Govind Patel, who was in constant contact with Jaideep Patel through that period, is a BJP corporator from Naroda and an accused in the killing of eight persons in Naroda on February 28, 2002. He is also a co-accused in the case in which Jaideep Patel was named as an accused, one that was later closed by the crime branch.)

• 11.05 a.m.: Patel receives a call from a cellphone that was allegedly being used by the prime accused in the Naroda Patiya massacre, Babu Bajrangi.

(The phone is registered in the name of one Priyanka Mahendra Pandya, B/3 Pragat Ghanshyam Society, Ranip. Records reveal that the phone had been carried to Godhra the previous day and was located in the Naroda area from the morning of February 28, 2002 until 8.28 p.m. that night. When The Sunday Express, contacted Mahendra Pandya, father of Priyanka Pandya, he said: "I have been using this cell number for more than a year. Three years ago, it was with Babubhai (Babu Bajrangi)."



According to the police FIR, the attacks in Naroda Patiya began at 11 a.m. and went on until 8 p.m.

• 11.12 a.m.: Ashok Patel calls Patel again.

• 11.21 a.m.: Jaideep Patel leaves for Bapunagar area. This was one of the areas in the city that witnessed unprecedented violence. The maximum number of deaths in private firing was reported from this area. The area fell under DCP Savani’s jurisdiction.

• 11.32 a.m.: Patel reaches Bapunagar and calls Zadaphiya.

• 11.37 a.m.: Key accused in the Naroda Patiya massacre, Bipin Panchal alias Bipin Auto, calls Patel and speaks for 62 seconds.

• 11.40 a.m.: Patel calls DCP (zone IV) PB Gondia, under whose jurisdiction Naroda Patiya and Gulberg Society fall, and speaks for 85 seconds. Seventy persons, including ex-Congress MP Ahsan Jaffri, were killed in Gulberg.

• 11.52 a.m.: Patel again calls DCP Gondia and this time speaks for 106 seconds.

• 11.55 a.m.: Patel calls Ashok Patel and speaks for 63 seconds.

• 12.01 p.m.: Ashok Patel calls back.

• 12.07 p.m.: Patel calls Ashok Patel and speaks for 71 seconds.

• 12.10 p.m.: Patel calls Naroda BJP MLA, Maya Kodnani, and speaks for 79 seconds.

• 12.20 p.m.: Patel calls DCP Gondia and speaks for 42 seconds.

• 12.25 p.m.: Patel returns to Naroda.

• 12.39 p.m.: Patel returns to Bapunagar area.

• 12.57 p.m.: Patel receives call from the cellphone being used by Babu Bajrangi.

• 1.00 p.m.: Bipin Panchal calls Patel and speaks for 86 seconds.

• 1.17 p.m.: Bajrangi calls again.

• 1.19 p.m.: Bipin Panchal calls.

• 1.23 p.m.: Bipin Panchal calls again.

• 1.43 p.m.: Bipin Panchal calls again and speaks for 72 seconds.

• 3.25 p.m.: Patel receives a call from the chief minister’s office and speaks for 141 seconds.

• 7.20 p.m.: Patel receives a call from a cellphone registered in the name of Sanjay Bhavsar of the general administration department, government of Gujarat, and speaks for 102 seconds.

• 7.24 p.m.: Bhavsar calls again.

• 7.28 p.m.: Patel calls Bhavsar.

• 7.31 p.m.: For the first time in the day, Patel calls the CP, Ahmedabad, PC Pande, and speaks for 47 seconds.

• 8.29 p.m.: Patel returns to Naroda area.

• 9.11 p.m.: Patel receives a call from Tanmay Mehta, personal assistant (PA) to the chief minister. The conversation lasts 209 seconds.

• 11.32 p.m.: State BJP president, Rajendrasinh Rana, calls Patel and speaks for 13 seconds.

By midnight, senior police officers, including the JCP, MK Tandon, had reached Naroda Patiya. The massacre over, survivors were being moved to hospitals and relief camps hastily set up by the Muslim community at Shah Alam and Dariya Khan Gummat. Meanwhile, another massacre had also taken place in Gulberg Society. Union defence minister, George Fernandes, arrives in town. The death toll in Ahmedabad alone was 125 and counting.



Certain key questions arise:
  • Why was the home minister, Gordhan Zadaphiya, in touch with Jaideep Patel?
  • Why did the chief minister’s office contact Jaideep Patel?
  • Did the crime branch study the cellphone records before closing the case against Patel?
  • Will the review panel, set up at the behest of the Supreme Court, look into these records while scrutinising the 2,100 closed riot cases?

Maya Kodnani, BJP MLA, Naroda

Kodnani is a practising gynaecologist whose clinic is barely a kilometre from the site of the Naroda Patiya massacre. The BJP MLA from Naroda, Kodnani was also named in an FIR and her name was subsequently dropped as an accused when the FIRs were illegally clubbed. She was seen by eyewitnesses, leading and instructing mobs to attack, rape, kill and burn.

A study of Kodnani’s cellphone, which is still in use, reveals that like fellow accused and VHP leader Jaideep Patel, the BJP leader too had been camping in the Naroda area until the evening of February 28, 2002, and was in close contact with those accused in the massacre, police officers, top politicians and VHP leaders, including the brother of VHP international general secretary, Praveen Togadia, and other accused from the area.

The attacks in Naroda began at 11 a.m. and went on until 8 p.m.

Excerpts from the cellphone records of Maya Kodnani

February 28, 2002

• 7.53 a.m.: Kodnani leaves her residence for Gandhinagar.

• 9.57 a.m.: Kodnani returns from Gandhinagar and heads straight for Sola Civil Hospital.

• 10.37 a.m.: Kodnani calls the office of the ACP (G Division), MT Rana, under whose jurisdiction Naroda and Meghaninagar fall.

• 10.39 a.m.: Kodnani calls the official cellphone of the DCP (zone IV), PB Gondia, Rana’s immediate boss.

• 11.23 a.m.: Kodnani leaves Sola Civil Hospital.

• 11.55 a.m.: Kodnani is in Shahibaug area (where she lives) when she receives a call from Dinesh Togadia, brother of VHP leader, Praveen Togadia, and speaks for 128 seconds.

• 12.10 p.m.: VHP general secretary, Jaideep Patel calls Kodnani. Patel was also named as an accused in the Naroda massacre until the case was closed by the police.

• 12.21 p.m.: Kodnani receives a call from Nimesh Patel, a resident of Saijapur Bogha area, adjoining the Naroda Patiya locality. Patel is one of those accused in the killing of eight persons at Naroda village. After the call, Kodnani heads towards Naroda.

• 12.37 p.m.: Kodnani reaches Naroda.

• 12.40 p.m.: Nimesh Patel calls Kodnani.

• 2.10 p.m.: Kodnani receives a call from Sri Swami Vivekanand Karnavati Charitable Trust, Maninagar, and speaks for 134 seconds.

• 2.33 p.m.: Kodnani receives a call from the official residence of state education minister, Anandiben Patel, in Gandhinagar.

• 2.53 p.m.: Kodnani receives a call from the office of the chief whip of the BJP legislative party.

• 3.31 p.m.: Kodnani receives a call from Ashok Govind Patel of Naroda and speaks for 91 seconds. As mentioned earlier, the BJP corporator, Ashok Patel, was a co-accused in the same case as Jaideep Patel.

• 4.09 p.m.: Kodnani leaves Naroda area and heads for Shahibaug.

A study of Kodnani’s cellphone, which is still in use, reveals that like fellow accused and VHP leader Jaideep Patel, the BJP leader too had been camping in the Naroda area until the evening of February 28, 2002, and was in close contact with those accused in the massacre

• 4.52 p.m.: Kodnani calls the DCP (zone V), RJ Savani, under whose jurisdiction widespread violence was reported from Bapunagar, Odhav, Amraiwadi and Hatkeshwar areas.

• 4.53 p.m.: Kodnani calls DCP (zone VI), BS Jebalia, under whose jurisdiction riots were reported from Vatwa, Danilimda and Kagdapith areas.

• 4.55 p.m.: Kodnani calls the ACP (sector I), Shivanand Jha, whose jurisdiction encompasses the western areas of the city, the worst affected areas within his jurisdiction being Paldi, Vejalpur and Navrangpura.

• 5.01 p.m.: Kodnani receives a call from Delhi.

• 5.46 p.m.: State BJP president, Rajendrasinh Rana calls Kodnani.

• 7.03 p.m.: Nimesh Patel calls Kodnani.

According to the police FIR of the Naroda Patiya massacre and the Naroda killings, the attacks started at 11 a.m. and went on till 8 p.m.

Gulberg Society, Chamanpura, Meghaninagar, Ahmedabad

At about 7 a.m. on February 28, 2002, a mob started to attack the predominantly minority inhabited Gulberg Society, barely a few kilometres from the police commissionerate. The onslaught lasted over nine hours during which about 70 persons were massacred and 15 women were gang-raped. Former parliamentarian from the Congress party, Ahsan Jaffri, was among those killed. Jaffri made over 200 calls to top leaders, seeking help. No one responded. The then CP, Ahmedabad, PC Pande visited Jaffri at around 10.30 a.m. and convinced him not to seek refuge elsewhere along with the 70 other Muslims who had sought shelter in his home. The attack intensified after Pande had left.

As DCP (zone IV), PB Gondia was the DCP in charge of both areas – Meghaninagar and Naroda – which together marked the most horrific day in the post-Godhra violence. Gondia’s cellphone records show that he spent a lot of time in areas outside his jurisdiction which reported little violence. They also show that he was in constant touch with the riot accused, including Nimesh Patel, who is accused in the Naroda killings. He was also in touch with accused, Jaideep Patel, VHP’s Gujarat general secretary and local BJP MLA, Maya Kodnani, and state revenue minister, Haren Pandya.

Excerpts from the cellphone records of DCP PB Gondia

February 28, 2002

• 10.39 a.m.: Just as DCP PB Gondia, reaches Naroda area, he receives a call from Naroda BJP MLA, Maya Kodnani. The call lasts 57 seconds.

• 11.05 a.m.: Gondia calls the JCP, MK Tandon’s office.

• 11.40 a.m.: Gondia, who is in Thakkarnagar, near Naroda, receives a call from VHP general secretary, Jaideep Patel – who was accused of leading a mob in Naroda – and speaks for 86 seconds.

• 11.52 a.m.: Jaideep Patel calls again. They speak for 107 seconds.

• 11.56 a.m.: Gondia calls Tandon and immediately moves to Naroda area.

• 12.20 p.m.: Jaideep Patel calls Gondia and speaks to him for 42 seconds.

• 12.35 p.m.: Gondia is in Meghaninagar area (Gulberg Society) and returns to Naroda by 12.53 p.m.

• 12.59 p.m.: Gondia calls the city police control room.

• Gondia remains in Naroda area till 1.44 p.m. At 1.53 p.m. he is in Meghaninagar area but leaves immediately and returns to Naroda. On the way, at 1.57 p.m., he receives a call from Tandon.

• 2.13 p.m.: Gondia is again in Meghaninagar area from where he calls Nimesh Patel, an accused in the Naroda village killings. Fifteen minutes later Gondia is in Naroda.

• 2.46 p.m.: Gondia returns to Meghaninagar and calls ACP MT Rana. Within five minutes, he leaves for the police commissionerate and reaches there by 2.55 p.m.

• 3.01 p.m.: Nimesh Patel calls Gondia.

• 3.11 p.m.: Gondia has left the police commissionerate and heads for Revdi Bazaar, an area which does not fall under his jurisdiction, where little violence has been reported.

• 3.16 p.m.: Gondia receives calls from the CP, PC Pande.

• Gondia remains at Revdi Bazaar until 4.03 p.m. and at 4.12 reaches Meghaninagar area.

• 5.05 p.m.: Gondia receives a call from the residence of Naroda BJP MLA, Maya Kodnani. The call lasts 81 seconds. Gondia is in Meghaninagar area.

• 5.15 p.m.: ACP Rana calls Gondia and speaks to him for 101 seconds.

• 5.24 p.m. and 5.29 p.m.: Gondia receives calls from the official residence of the revenue minister, Haren Pandya.

• 6.55 p.m.: Nimesh Patel calls Gondia.

• 10.06 p.m.: Gondia goes to Naroda area.

• 10.10 p.m.: Nimesh Patel calls Gondia.

State role

Cellphone records fill in the missing blanks. They show that the Ahmedabad police commissioner, PC Pande received several calls from the chief minister’s office throughout the day and in the hours leading up to their meeting. Who kept calling? Narendra Modi’s PA, Tanmay Mehta, and Modi’s additional principal secretary, Anil Mukim.

Excerpts from the cellphone records of the CP, Ahmedabad, PC Pande

February 27, 2002

• 8.53 a.m. (within an hour of the Godhra train arson): Pande, who is at his residence, receives a call from the state minister of state for home, Gordhan Zadaphiya.

• 11.05 a.m.: Pande is at his office and receives a call from the DGP, K. Chakravarti.

• 11.38 a.m.: Chakravarti calls again.

• 12.48 p.m.: Chakravarti calls again.

• 1.08 p.m.: Pande calls the Ahmedabad district collector, K. Srinivas.

• 1.53 p.m.: Zadaphiya calls Pande and speaks for 109 seconds.

• 2.59 p.m.: Pande receives a call from Tanmay Mehta, Narendra Modi’s PA.

• 3.35 p.m.: Pande receives a call from the chief minister’s additional principal secretary, Anil Mukim.

• 3.36 p.m.: Pande receives a call from Mehta. Half a minute later, Mukim calls again.

• 3.40 p.m.: Zadaphiya calls Pande.

• 3.50 p.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande.

• 5.02 p.m.: Pande receives a call from Mukim. He returns the call after a minute.

• 5.28 p.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande and speaks for 107 seconds.

• 6.03 p.m.: Pande receives a call from Mumbai and speaks for 154 seconds.

• 7.09 p.m.: Pande calls Mukim and speaks for 83 seconds.

• At 7.48 p.m. and 8.14 p.m.: Pande receives two calls from K. Srinivas.

• 8.26 p.m.: Pande receives a call from Sanjay Bhavsar, officer on special duty (OSD) to the chief minister.

• 9.13. p.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande and speaks for 52 seconds.

• 9.18 p.m. and 9.19 p.m.: Pande receives calls from Zadaphiya.

• 9.42 p.m.: Pande has left the city for Gandhinagar and is half way there.

February 28, 2002

• 12.35 a.m.: Pande returns from Gandhinagar and heads straight for his office. He stays there until about one a.m.

• 8.12 a.m.: Pande is back in office and receives a call from Chakravarti.

• 8.50 a.m.: Pande calls Chakravarti.

• 9.30 a.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande and speaks for 126 seconds.

• 9.44 a.m.: Pande receives a call from the JCP (sector II), MK Tandon. Three minutes later, Pande is on his way to Sola Civil Hospital.

• 10.56 a.m.: Pande returns to the police commissionerate.

• 11.05 a.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande. By this time mobs have taken to the streets. According to police records, the attack on Gulberg Society began at 7 a.m. while in Naroda Patiya it began at 11 a.m.

• 11.31 a.m.: Pande receives a call from Zadaphiya’s office.

• 11.40 a.m.: Tanmay Mehta, Narendra Modi’s PA, calls Pande.

• 11.43 a.m.: Pande receives a call from Tandon, who has already reached Meghaninagar area (where Gulberg Society is located).

• 11.56 a.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande.

• 12.06 p.m.: Pande calls Tandon and speaks for 75 seconds. Three minutes after this call, Tandon leaves Meghaninagar.

• 12.37 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande. By this time curfew has been imposed in the city.

• 1.21 p.m.: Mehta calls Pande.

• 1.22 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande.

• 1.45 p.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande and speaks for 116 seconds.

• 1.56 p.m.: Pande receives a call from the office of state minister for water supply, Narottam Patel, and speaks for 125 seconds.

• 2.02 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande and speaks for 125 seconds.

• 2.12 p.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande.

• 2.25 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande.

• 2.53 p.m.: Zadaphiya calls Pande.

• 3.09 p.m.: Pande receives a call from city MLA and state health minister, Ashok Bhatt.

• 3.16 p.m.: Pande calls the DCP (zone IV), PB Gondia, under whose jurisdiction the Gulberg Society and Naroda Patiya localities fall.

• 3.22 p.m.: Pande receives a call from city MLA and state energy minister, Kaushik Patel, and speaks for 60 seconds.

• 3.38 p.m.: Mehta calls Pande.

• 3.54 p.m.: Pande calls Gondia.

• 3.57 p.m.: Mehta calls Pande.

• 3.59 p.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande. Minutes later, Chakravarti is at Pande’s office.

• 5.16 p.m.: Pande receives a call from Zadaphiya, who has just left the police commissionerate.

• 5.17 p.m.: Pande receives a call from a cellphone registered in the name of AP Patel, general administration department, government of Gujarat.

• 5.50 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande.

• 6.31 p.m.: Pande receives a call from the official residence of Ashok Bhatt and speaks for 232 seconds.

• 6.51 p.m.: Pande receives a call from Chakravarti, who is by then at Gandhinagar.

• 7.09 p.m.: Pande reaches Meghaninagar area.

• 7.11 p.m.: Zadaphiya calls Pande.

• 7.26 p.m.: Mehta calls Pande.

• 7.31 p.m.: Pande receives a call from VHP leader and riot accused, Jaideep Patel. Pande leaves Meghaninagar area and goes back to his office.

• 8.52 p.m.: Pande calls Chakravarti and speaks for 110 seconds.

• 9.03 p.m.: Pande calls Anil Mukim, the chief minister’s additional principal secretary, and speaks for 229 seconds.

• 9.14 p.m.: Mukim calls Pande.

• 9.18 p.m.: Pande calls Chakravarti and speaks for 334 seconds.

• 10.27 p.m.: Mehta calls Pande.

Pande’s memory loss before the commission

Deposing before the Nanavati-Shah Commission on August 18, 2004, former CP, Ahmedabad city, PC Pande said he only heard about the Naroda Patiya violence at 9.30 p.m. on February 28, 2002, when "I received information that some persons had been killed there". And it was only when he went there at around 10 or 11 p.m. that he realised the "gravity" of the situation.

However, by 9.30 p.m., the Naroda massacre was long over. Eighty-three persons had already been killed and Pande’s cellphone records show that right through the afternoon, from 2.30 to 9 p.m., he was, in fact, in regular touch with two police officers in charge of the areas under which both Naroda Patiya and Gulberg Society fall.

During the last half hour of the massacre at Naroda, Pande even received a call from VHP state general secretary and riot accused, Jaideep Patel. Nevertheless, in his deposition before the Nanavati-Shah Commission, Pande said that he had not been "receiving any information regarding the serious incidents which followed after 2.30 p.m.".

Another point on which Pande claimed memory loss was the meeting called by the chief minister, Narendra Modi, on the night of the Godhra arson, hours after the VHP and the BJP had declared a bandh for the next day.

Lies before the commission

Joint CP (sector II), Ahmedabad, MK Tandon, who was in charge of areas that saw the worst two massacres, told the Nanavati-Shah Commission that he only heard about the attack on Gulberg Society at 2 p.m. on February 28. This was a massacre in which 70 people were killed, many of them burnt alive, including former Congress MP, Ahsan Jaffri. "I was not present when the mob was being dispersed as I had gone near the Gulberg Society at about 10.45 a.m. and then had gone to Naroda. I was in Naroda at about 12 p.m.," he deposed.

However, records of Tandon’s official cellphone reveal that between 11.34 a.m. and 12.09 p.m., he was in the Meghaninagar area (where Gulberg Society is).

From Meghaninagar, records show, he called up the DCP in charge of the area and the CP, PC Pande. (The attacks on Gulberg Society began at about 7 a.m. on February 28. Top police officers maintain however that they began much later, at about 10.30 that morning.)

He also told the commission that he only heard about the Naroda Patiya massacre at 9.30 p.m. "I do not know when the mob entered this Muslim locality and I also do not know if the police officials present on the spot tried to contact me during this time. I think that during this time, the telephone lines were jammed. I first came to know about this incident (Naroda Patiya) at 9.30 p.m. when I was in the Gulberg Society and immediately rushed there," he said.

But his cellphone details reveal that he was constantly in touch with the police officers who were in direct charge of the riot hit areas, and the police control room called him at least four times between 1.24 p.m. and 3.01 p.m.

Excerpts from the cellphone records of JCP (sector II) MK Tandon

February 27, 2002

• 9.50 a.m.: Tandon receives a call from the police control room.

• 10.05 a.m.: Tandon calls the police control room.

• 10.08 a.m.: Tandon again calls the police control room.

• 10.09 a.m.: Tandon calls the DCP (zone IV), PB Gondia. Immediately, he receives a call from the DCP (zone V), RJ Savani.

• 10.11 a.m.: Tandon receives a call from the DCP (zone VI), BS Jebalia.

• 10.12 a.m.: Savani calls Tandon.

• 10.17 a.m.: ACP MT Rana calls Tandon.

• 11.31 a.m.: Tandon reaches the commissionerate and calls Savani and speaks for 70 seconds.

• 11.56 a.m.: Savani calls Tandon and speaks for 160 seconds.

• 12.16 p.m.: Savani calls Tandon again.

• 12.57 p.m.: Tandon calls Jebalia.

• 12.58 p.m.: Tandon calls Savani and speaks for 128 seconds.

• 2.59 p.m.: Savani calls Tandon.

• 3.18 p.m.: Tandon calls Jebalia.

• 3.49 p.m.: Tandon again calls Jebalia and speaks for 84 seconds. Minutes later, Tandon leaves the commissionerate and goes to Revdi Bazaar, a communally sensitive area.

• 4.02 p.m.: Jebalia calls Tandon.

• 4.22 p.m.: Jebalia calls Tandon.

• 4.25 p.m.: Tandon calls Savani. Tandon goes to the New Cloth Market where the office of the DCP (zone VI) (BS Jebalia) is also situated.

• 4.39 p.m.: Tandon calls Savani.

• 5.20 p.m.: Tandon calls the CP, PC Pande and speaks for 104 seconds. Tandon leaves and heads towards Bapunagar and Naroda areas.

• 5.49 p.m.: Tandon calls Savani.

• 5.57 p.m.: Tandon receives a call from the police control room.

• 6.05 p.m.: Rana calls Tandon. Tandon is in Rakhial area.

• 6.46 p.m.: Tandon reaches Bapunagar and receives a call from Rana.

• 6.59 p.m.: Tandon reaches the Naroda area and calls Gondia.

• 7.17 p.m.: Tandon returns to the commissionerate.

• 8.42 p.m.: Tandon calls Savani and speaks for 232 seconds.

• 8.55 p.m.: Savani calls Tandon.

• 9.34 p.m.: Savani calls Tandon and speaks for 481 seconds.

• 10.32 p.m.: Savani calls Tandon and speaks for 100 seconds.

February 28, 2002

• 12.00 a.m.: Savani calls Tandon. Tandon immediately calls up then state minister of state for home, Gordhan Zadaphiya, and speaks for 133 seconds.

• Three minutes later, Savani calls Tandon and speaks for 96 seconds.

• 6.49 a.m.: Tandon receives a call from Delhi and speaks for 126 seconds.

• An hour later, Tandon speaks to his three DCPs, Gondia, Savani and Jebalia, at length.

• Between 9.20 a.m. and 9.36 a.m. Tandon speaks at length with Savani and Jebalia and then speaks to the CP, PC Pande.

• 11.20 a.m.: Tandon calls ACP MT Rana of Meghaninagar and Naroda areas.

• 11.34 a.m.: Tandon reaches Meghaninagar (where Gulberg Society is) and calls Gondia, under whose jurisdiction both the areas fall. Ten minutes later, he calls the CP and then makes two successive calls to the city police control room.

• 12.06 p.m.: Pande calls Tandon. Three minutes later Tandon leaves Meghaninagar area.

• 12.11 p.m.: Tandon reaches Naroda area.

DCP PB Gondia was in charge of both areas – Meghaninagar and Naroda – which together marked the most horrific day in the post-Godhra violence. Gondia’s cellphone records show that he spent a lot of time in areas outside his jurisdiction which reported little violence. They also show that he was in constant touch with the riot accused

• Between 12.14 p.m. and 12.18 p.m. Tandon makes three calls to Pande. At 12.26 p.m. he makes one call to the police control room.

• 12.33 p.m.: Savani calls Tandon, after which Tandon leaves Naroda.

• 12.37 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande.

• 12.41 p.m.: Tandon calls Rana. Tandon is travelling through Bapunagar, Rakhial, and reaches Relief Road at 1.56 p.m. Tandon remains in the Relief Road and Revdi Bazaar areas until about 4 p.m.

• While Tandon is not in any of the riot hit areas within his jurisdiction, his cellphone details reveal he was constantly in touch with the DCPs, Gondia, Savani and Jebalia, the police control room, the CP, PC Pande and the city mayor, Himmatsinh Patel, during this time. The police control room called him at least four times between 1.24 p.m. and 3.01 p.m.

• 4.12 p.m.: Tandon reaches the police commissionerate.

• 4.28 p.m.: Tandon reaches Meghaninagar area (Gulberg Society).

• 10.14 p.m.: Tandon visits Naroda area and leaves by 11.03 p.m.

Meanwhile, what did the police do when Jaffri was desperate for help?

Excerpts of the cellphone records of officers Pande, Tandon and Gondia have been deliberately repeated below to demonstrate how the calls made and received by them dovetail with those of other officers during the specific period when Ahsan Jaffri was so desperately seeking police assistance.

DGP K. Chakravarti:


• 11.56 p.m.: Chakravarti calls the CP, PC Pande, and speaks for 56 seconds.

• 12.18 p.m.: Chakravarti is in Gandhinagar; receives a call from the Ahmedabad district collector, K. Srinivas, and speaks for 59 seconds.

• 1.06 p.m.: Srinivas calls Chakravarti.

• 1.43 p.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande and speaks for 116 seconds.

• 1.48 p.m.: Chakravarti receives a call from Badruddin Sheikh (Congress leader and then chairperson, standing committee, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation) and speaks for 91 seconds.

• 2.01 p.m.: Sheikh calls Chakravarti again.

• 2.12 p.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande and speaks for 49 seconds.

• 3.50 p.m.: Chakravarti reaches the city and calls his office in Gandhinagar. (Jaffri is suspected to be dead by this time.)

• 3.51 p.m.: Chakravarti receives a call from the ADGP (law & order) and speaks for 132 seconds.

• 3.55 p.m.: Chakravarti reaches Shahibaug and calls Pande.

CP, PC Pande

• 11.56 p.m.: DGP Chakravarti calls Pande.

• 12.06 p.m.: Pande calls JCP MK Tandon and speaks for 75 seconds.

• 12.37 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande. By this time, curfew has been imposed in the city.

• 1.21 p.m.: Tanmay Mehta, Modi’s PA, calls Pande.

• 1.22 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande again.

• 1.45 p.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande again and speaks for 116 seconds.

• 2.02 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande for the third time and speaks for 125 seconds.

• 2.12 p.m.: Chakravarti calls Pande for the third time.

• 2.25 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande again.

• 2.53 p.m.: Pande receives a call from state minister of state for home, Gordhan Zadaphiya.

• 3.09 p.m.: Pande receives a call from the state health minister, Ashok Bhatt.

• 3.16 p.m.: Pande calls the DCP (zone IV), PB Gondia, under whose jurisdiction the Gulberg Society and Naroda Patiya localities fall.

• 3.38 p.m.: Mehta calls Pande.

• 3.54 p.m.: Pande calls Gondia.

• 3.57 p.m.: Mehta calls Pande again.

• 3.59 p.m.: Pande receives a fourth call from Chakravarti, who reaches Pande’s office minutes later.

Deposing before the Nanavati-Shah Commission, Pande said Jaffri was killed between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Joint CP MK Tandon

• 11.58 a.m.: Tandon calls police control room and speaks for 68 seconds. Has reached Meghaninagar, where Gulberg Society is, at 11.34 a.m.

• 12.06 p.m.: Pande receives a call from the CP, PC Pande. Three minutes later, Tandon leaves Meghaninagar area.

• 12.11 p.m.: Tandon reaches Naroda area.

• 12.14-12.18 p.m.: Makes three calls to Pande and one to the police control room at 12.26 p.m.

• 12.33 p.m.: Tandon leaves Naroda.

• 12.37 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande.

• 12.41 p.m.: Tandon reaches Bapunagar and calls ACP MT Rana, under whose jurisdiction Meghaninagar and Naroda fall.

• 1.06 p.m.: Tandon calls DCP PB Gondia and speaks for 60 seconds. He is then in Rakhial.

• 1.11 p.m.: Tandon calls the city mayor, Himmatsinh Patel, and speaks for 78 seconds.

• 1.22 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande and speaks for 54 seconds.

• 1.24 p.m.: Tandon receives a call from the police control room.

• 1.51 p.m.: Tandon reaches Revdi Bazaar and Relief Road.

• 1.57 p.m.: Tandon calls Gondia and speaks for 98 seconds.

• 1.59 p.m.: Tandon receives another call from the police control room.

• 2.02 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande and speaks for 124 seconds.

• 2.25 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande and speaks for 51 seconds.

• 2.52 p.m.: Tandon calls Himmatsinh Patel and speaks for 145 seconds.

• 2.57 p.m.: Tandon receives a third call from the police control room.

• 3.01 p.m.: Tandon receives a fourth call from the police control room.

• 3.30 p.m.: Tandon calls Pande and speaks for 72 seconds.

• 3.39 p.m.: Tandon receives a fifth call from the police control room.

• 3.40 p.m.: Tandon calls his office number at the police commissionerate.

• 4.12 p.m.: Tandon reaches the commissionerate.

• 4.28 p.m.: Tandon reaches Meghaninagar area.

DCP PB Gondia

• 11.52 a.m.: Gondia receives a call from VHP general secretary and riot accused, Jaideep Patel, and speaks for 107 seconds.

• 11.56 a.m.: Gondia calls JCP MK Tandon, moves to Naroda area.

• 12.20 p.m.: Jaideep Patel calls again and speaks for 42 seconds.

• 12.35 p.m.: Gondia is in Meghaninagar area, returns to Naroda by 12.53 p.m.

• 12.59 p.m.: Gondia calls the police control room.

• Gondia remains in Naroda area till 1.44 p.m.

At 1.53 p.m. Gondia is in Meghaninagar but returns to Naroda almost immediately. On the way, at 1.57 p.m., he receives a call from Tandon.

• 2.13 p.m.: Gondia is back in Meghaninagar from where he calls Nimesh Patel, an accused in the Naroda killings. Fifteen minutes later, Gondia is in Naroda.

• 2.46 p.m.: Gondia returns to Meghaninagar, calls ACP Rana. Within five minutes, he leaves for the police commissionerate, reaches by 2.55 p.m.

• 3.01 p.m.: Nimesh Patel calls Gondia.

• 3.11 p.m.: Leaves the police commissionerate but heads for Revdi Bazaar from where little violence has been reported.

• 3.16 p.m.: Gondia receives a call from the CP, PC Pande.

• Gondia remains at Revdi Bazaar till 4.03 and at 4.12 p.m. reaches Meghaninagar area.

Archived from Communalism Combat, July 2007 Year 13    No.124, Genocide's Aftermath Part II, State Complicity 5

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