Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi may have got a clean chit from the Supreme Court-appointed SIT in the Gulbarg Society massacre case, but may still run into trouble over a phone log CD, which reveals the number of calls exchanged by the accused with the top authorities, including calls received by the chief minister's office (CMO), during the 2002 riots.
In a fresh development, the SIT has now been asked by a trial court to submit an additional report that will have to examine a crucial question: on how so many accused had such easy access to Gordan Zadaphia, Gujarat's minister of state for home during the 2002 riots, and the CMO.An analysis of the call records shows close contact between VHP general secretary Jaideep Patel and the CMO.
An accused in the Naroda Gam case, in which 11 Muslims were killed, Patel, the log reveals, was in constant and regular touch with other accused including Naroda Patiya MLA Mayaben Kodnani, Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi and another accused Bipin Panchal.
Between February 27 to March 3, 2002 (the duration of the riots) and a few days after that, Patel dialled Bajrangi 21 times; Panchal nine times, Kodnani thrice and the CMO nine times. He also called Zadaphia 12 times.
For over two years, SIT has maintained that it was investigating the matter further, but has not yet submitted the report.
What can spell trouble for Patel, Zadaphia and the CMO is the fact that the trial court last week told SIT to produce the report, following an application by the Jan Sangharsh Manch, an NGO led by activist-advocate Mukul Sinha, which had said the "investigation and analysis of the phone records is wholly inadequate and unsatisfactory".
The only calls SIT has taken into account are the ones pertaining to Kodnani and Bajrangi and have used those to chargesheet the two for the Naroda Patiya massacre that left 95 dead in a matter of hours. The Naroda Patiya judgment is scheduled to be pronounced on June 30.
The Modi administration's discomfiture is apparent from the fact that it has now charge sheeted DIG Rahul Sharma, the officer who was instrumental in seeking the log when he was posted in Ahmedabad as the DCP, control room.
Sharma had also objected to the shoddy manner in which the crime branch had investigated the Naroda Patiya massacre.