Ex-minister fails to appear before Gujarat riots panel


Gandhinagar : Former Gujarat minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson I.K. Jadeja Monday failed to appear before the Nanavati-Mehta judicial inquiry commission, probing the 2002 Godhra train carnage and the subsequent communal riots, and sought more time to do so.

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Jadeja, who was the urban development minister when the riots broke out, filed an application seeking more time to appear before the panel. He did not cite any reason for his non-appearance Monday.

He would be the second minister to be summoned by the panel for questioning. The commission earlier questioned former state home minister Gordhan Jhadapia but the proceedings were in-camera and cross-examination was not permitted.

It is alleged that Jadeja and another former minister Ashok Bhatt were present at the city police control room during the riots and issued instructions to police.

On Aug 29, the commission quizzed Anil Mukim, the then additional principal secretary to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, and K. Nityanandam, an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, in connection with the deposition of suspended IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt before the panel.

The first part of the report submitted by the panel to Modi Sep 18, 2008 has already concluded that the incident was not an accident and the coach was set on fire by a mob comprising of Muslims. The panel also gave a clean chit to Modi.