Nanavati report based on manufactured evidence: TehelkaSeptember 27th, 2008 - 6:19 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Sep 27 (IANS) The Nanavati commission relied on “manufactured evidence” to conclude that the Godhra train burning tragedy was pre-planned, according to the Tehelka newsmagazine, which last year carried out an undercover investigation into the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat. Showing the footage of the sting operation, part of the sensational expose in November carried out by an undercover journalist, Tehelka editor Tarun Tajpal said witnesses were caught on camera saying they were bribed by the Gujarat police to make false statements before the investigative commission.
“We forwarded the footage of the sting to the Nanavati Commission last year, but unfortunately we have not heard anything from them,” Tejpal said.
The first part of the panel report tabled in the Gujarat legislative assembly Thursday concludes that the train-burning at Godhra town was a premeditated crime and not an accident.
“Based on our investigation, we appeal to the panel to re-look at all evidence submitted by the Gujarat police as it can have dangerous consequences on society,” Tejpal said.
The commission said it found that 140 litres of petrol was procured from a petrol pump in Godhra town the day before the burning of a coach of the Sabarmati Express on Feb 27, 2002, but according to the Tehelka sting nobody had bought so much petrol.
The commission report rests on the testimonies of two witnesses, petrol pump salesmen Ranjitsinh Patel and Prabhatsinh Patel, who said they had sold 140 litres of petrol to Salim Panwala.
“Shockingly, Tehelka caught Ranjitsinh Patel on camera saying chief investigating officer Noel Parmar had paid both of them Rs.50,000 each to change their (earlier) statement and identify some Muslims as conspirators,” Tejpal said.
The other pieces of evidence presented by the police before the commission were manufactured to present the train burning accident as a conspiracy, Tejpal said.
The Tehelka expose showed prominent Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal leaders admitting in their conversations with the undercover reporter that Modi sanctioned the killings in the wake of the train burning in Godhra, in which 59 Hindu passengers were killed.
As many as 1,169 people - majority of them Muslims - were killed in the subsequent communal violence.