Godhra train fire was pre-planned, says Nanavati panel

September 25th, 2008 - 5:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Ahmedabad, Sep 25 (IANS) The burning of a coach of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra railway station in February 2002, which claimed 59 lives and triggered Gujarat-wide communal violence, was preplanned, the Nanavati inquiry panel has found.The first part of the panel’s report, which was tabled in the Gujarat assembly Thursday amid high drama, has virtually given a clean chit to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, saying there was no evidence to incriminate him or any member of his cabinet.

Fifty-nine people, including 25 women and 15 children, were burnt alive in the S-6 coach when a violent mob set ablaze two coaches of the Sabarmati Express at the Godhra railway station on Feb 27. Many of them were Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists returning after a campaign in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.

The report said that 140 litres of petrol was purchased as part of the conspiracy to burn the bogey. It added that the conspiracy was hatched at the Aman Guest House in Godhra, about 140 km from here, and was meant to spread terror in the area.

The findings of the commission, constituted by the state government in March 2002 and headed by Justice (retd) G.T. Nanavati, contradicts findings of another panel headed by Justice (retd) U.C. Banerjee, which unequivocally stated that the fire was accidental and there was no evidence to suggest that it was planned.

The Banerjee Committee was set up by by Railways Minister Lalu Prasad almost two years back.

Reacting to the findings of the Nanavati panel report, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Prakash Javdekar said: “The report is based on exhaustive investigation. Finally the truth is out.”

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