Ahmedabad: In fresh problems for Narendra Modi, a member of people's tribunal that visited Gujarat after 2002 riots said former Home Minister Haren Pandya had told them that the Chief Minister allegedly directed the police to give Hindus a free hand to vent their anger during the riots.
Justice H Suresh, a retired Bombay High Court judge, also alleged today that the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) appears to have ignored the statements recorded by it of him and another Tribunal member Justice PB Sawant, a former Supreme Court judge.
Both the judges were members of the fact-finding team headed by veteran jurist and former Supreme Court judge Justice V R Krishna Iyer, which had gone to Gujarat in March-April 2002 after the post-Godhra riots.
Suresh said the evidence of the tribunal given to SIT on alleged instructions given to police by Modi to teach Muslims a lesson hours after the Godhra train attack was based on what was told to them by Pandya on May 13, 2002. Pandya was murdered on March 26, 2003.
Suresh said the Tribunal had an audio recording of Pandya's statement to it in which he said Modi had called a meeting on the night of February 27 hours after the Godhra train attack where he allegedly told the police to look the other way during the riots.
"In that (the recording) he (Pandya) has stated that there was a meeting at chief Minister's place, where he directed the police what to do and what not to do. He told the police actually that they should give free hand to the Hindus, who would act in their own way," Justice Suresh told NDTV.
He said Pandya's statement was relevant and "cannot be ignored" in a court of law.
"I was there, Justice Sawant was there and he(Pandya) said this in our presence," the former judge said, adding "the SIT recorded out statements".
He also said that the tribunal had given the SIT the audio recording of Pandya.
The SIT last week submitted its final report to a local court on its probe into allegations of Modi's involvement in the riots here and it is believed to have given a clean chit to the Chief Minister.