The Gujarat government had asked the state intelligence unit to track the movements of its former home minister Haren Pandya after the 2002 riots in the state, according to the final report of the Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team (SIT).
A 26 June, 2007 file photo of Jagruti Harenbhai Pandya, wife of slain former home minister of Gujarat, Haren Pandya, in Ahmedabad.
The SIT has said Pandya was being watched since he wanted to give his own version of the handling of the riots to a
citizens’ tribunal headed by eminent judges.
Pandya, who reportedly didn’t have good relations with Modi, quit the government in August 2002 and was murdered in March 2003. The investigation into the murder is still on.
One of the judges on the citizens’ tribunal, justice Hospet Suresh, told Hindustan Times Pandya had alleged that Modi asked the police not to take action against the rioters. Modi allegedly gave the instruction during a meeting with top police and government officials on February 27, 2002, the day the riots started after the burning of a train coach near Godhra station.
The SIT report, on pages 55-56, says: “State Intelligence Bureau confirmed to have conducted a secret inquiry about one of the ministers, who had met a citizens’ tribunal… secret inquiries revealed that late Haren Pandya was the minister who had met and deposed before justice Iyer and other judges.”
Justice Suresh said Pandya had given an audio recording of his allegation against Modi.
In its report, the SIT has refused to accept Pandya's statement before the citizens' tribunal.
"Further investigation has established that the meeting at Modi's residence was essentially a law and order review meeting and no cabinet minister attended it," the report states.
It pointed out that Pandya was then only a minister of state for revenue, and "in view of the version of all top state officials, the alleged testimony of late Pandya cannot inspire confidence".