PC Pande, the former commissioner of police (CP), Ahmedabad, and
later the DGP, Gujarat, who continues to enjoy special favour with the Modi
dispensation, sent a confidential written communication to the then DGP, K.
Chakravarti, on April 19, 2002. The letter implicates Bharat Barot, the then
minister for food and civil supplies in the Gujarat government, as he directly
instigated well-known gangsters of the Bajrang Dal and VHP to arson. Another
such letter by the CP, written ten days later, was addressed to both DGP K.
Chakravarti, and the then additional chief secretary (home), Ashok Narayan
(accused numbers 25 and 28 respectively).
Both these letters were submitted to the Nanavati-Shah
Commission in 2006 as appendices to the then ADGP, Mahapatra’s affidavit.
Despite attempts by the commission to prevent copies of the letters from coming
out, CJP managed to access the documents in 2006 itself and they were part of
the Zakiya Jaffri petition in both the Gujarat high court and the Supreme Court.
On April 15, 2002, four days before Pande’s first letter to the
DGP, a mob had gathered near the Amba Mata temple, near Kapadia High School
outside Delhi Darwaja in Ahmedabad. This was at 9.30 a.m., in broad daylight.
Bharat Barot, then a cabinet minister, drove up in a white private car, had a
whispered confabulation with some members of the mob (named below) and drove
off. As soon as he left, incidents of arson took place outside Delhi Darwaja and
near Idgah Chowky.
The commissioner of police, Ahmedabad, while referring to this
incident in the letter to his boss, the DGP, states that Harshad Panchal, Dipak
Goradia and Dinesh Prajapati, all workers of the Bajrang Dal, were part of the
mob. Pande, who was part of Narendra Modi’s major cover-up operation in 2002,
also says that known leaders of the VHP and Bajrang Dal such as Raju Ravji
Thakore, Kamlesh Babu Thakore, Bholiyo, Virambhai, Paresh Langdo and Mahendra
Bachubhai were part of a mob that had launched attacks in the Madhavpura
What steps did the police take? PC Pande, instead of booking the
minister for incitement and abetment, politely requests his boss "to bring this
matter to the knowledge of government" and to make arrangements to ensure that "Hon’ble
ministers of government may not do (sic) such activity."
Yes, Pande does write the letter. But what more does he do? He
keeps it under wraps until it is produced before the Nanavati-Shah Commission
four years later.
Shielding extortion by the VHP/Bajrang Dal
Ten days later, on April 29, 2002, Pande makes other significant
revelations in a second written communication, this one addressed to both
Chakravarti and Ashok Narayan. This document, which was also accessed by CJP,
was submitted to the Gujarat high court in 2007 as an annexure to the petition
filed by Zakiya Jaffri and CJP, seeking directions from the court for
registration of an FIR against Modi and 62 others. In 2008 it was also filed in
the Supreme Court, in the litigation challenging the appointment of PC Pande as
DGP of Gujarat.
In this letter, while reporting on the continued misbehaviour
and criminal actions of the VHP and Bajrang Dal in Ahmedabad, Pande says "one
and three quarter months (after the Godhra and post-Godhra violence) …when the
situation in Ahmedabad is limping back to normal, some ugly activities are being
carried out by parties that have the support of the government."
Specifically, he states that workers of the VHP and Bajrang Dal
in Ahmedabad city were extorting money from businessmen under the pretext of
providing them protection from the minority community. Though forced by the
bullying tactics of the VHP and Bajrang Dal into paying out the amounts
demanded, the businessmen had nonetheless complained about these illegal
activities in public and also to the police.
Worse still, Pande also makes reference to complaints received
by the police of threats faced by the minority community when they went to
majority-dominated areas for work or work-related activities. Here too he says
that the police had noted the active role played by workers of the VHP and
(This from a man who suffered a sudden lapse of memory during
his deposition before the Nanavati-Shah Commission and one who has protected the
state government before and since.
Why does the commissioner of police restrict himself to private
pleas and in-house communications instead of acting to book the criminals for
their illegal activities?)
Pande also states in this letter that attempts were being made
by criminals belonging to the VHP and Bajrang Dal to seize the properties of
minorities after their homes had been destroyed by goons belonging to the
majority community. He says that members of the minority community were not
allowed to reclaim their properties and were being threatened if they did
Pande reveals all in confidential communications to his
superiors but takes no steps to book the criminals, register complaints and
protect the victims. He privately acknowledges the criminal activities of groups
that enjoy the patronage of the top men in government as seen in these letters.
He even appeals to the state government to stop their patronage and protection
of criminal groups like the VHP and Bajrang Dal. Why does he do nothing more?