Jhadapia not called as witness, riots panel tells court

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

GANDHINAGAR - The Nanavati-Mehta commission probing the 2002 Godhra train carnage and the communal riots that followed, Tuesday informed the Gujarat High Court that former state minister Gordhan Jhadapia was not summoned as a witness.

A communication by the commission’s secretary to the government’s advocate, read by the division bench of Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya and Justice Akil Kureshi, said that the former minister was called under sections 4 and 5 of the Commission of Enquiries Act. The sections relate to the powers of a commission set up under the act.

The commission also said the deposition of Jhadapia has been kept confidential for the moment and he may be called again for questioning. He had been questioned Nov 19.

The declaration came after the bench’s order to clarify the nature of deposition of Jhadapia, as it heard NGO Jan Sangharsh Manch’s petition seeking to know the nature of his deposition so that they could know whether they had a right to cross-examine him or not.

The division bench had sought to know as to whether the former minister was summoned by the commission as a witness or under section 8(b) of the act, under which the commission can call upon a person for depose if it has found some material against them and seeks clarification from them about it.

If Jhadapia was called as witness then the Jan Sangharsh Manch will have the right of cross-examination. If he was called under section 8(b) then he could not be cross-examined.

The court however adjourned the matter for Jan 24 and allowed the NGO to approach the commission and raise the question of examining the then home minister.

Jhadapia has already been questioned by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) over the 2002 riots.

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