“Arrest him and bring him to Ahmedabad.”
With those terse words, former Tata Consultancy Services advisor Dr R.K. Raghavan, ordered the first arrest of a police officer as a suspect, seven years after 800 people were killed in the Gujarat riots of 2002.
Raghavan, 68, chief of the Special Investigation Team probing the riots, reports to India’s Supreme Court, and has free access to critical cellphone records that indicate how police officers and politicians conspired to assist rioters and ignore calls for help from besieged Muslim communities.
With Child Welfare Minister Maya Kodnani facing arrest and Deputy Superintendent of Police K.G. Erda in custody, the administration is fearful of the arrests that might follow.
Cellphone records with the SIT implicate a host of police officers. Among them are then Ahmedabad police commissioner, now DGP, P.C. Pande and then joint commissioner of police M.K. Tandon, now retired.
Raghavan, who investigated the matchfixing case involving South African cricketer Hansie Cronje in 2000, has kept his investigations secret. So when Erda was to be arrested, the team sent to Valsad, 350 km from Ahmedabad, was only told they were to get Erda to speak to Raghavan.
When they got Erda, Raghavan said: “I have no business that needs to be discussed with Erda on the phone. Arrest him.”