Who killed Haren
wanted Vaghela’s phones tapped, his chief secretary wanted CEC Lyngdoh
misled about Gujarat reality, his principal secretary wanted Pandya under
Bal & Mahesh Langa
The tapes of his conversation
with the home secretary prior to his deposition before the Nanavati-Shah
commission is not the only damaging evidence against the Gujarat government
that Sreekumar has in his possession. Through his tenure as intelligence
chief in Gujarat, a term that began on April 9, 2002, a month after the
Godhra incident, Sreekumar maintained a diary of instructions given to
him by senior officials in the state as well as Narendra Modi.
Fathers And Sins: Vithal Pandya campaigns
Perhaps, the most
damaging of this information relates to instructions issued by the state
government regarding Haren Pandya, Modi’s foe within the Sangh Parivar
ranks who was murdered a few months later.
On June 7, 2002, Sreekumar
was asked by PK Mishra, Modi’s principal secretary, to find out
which minister in the Modi Cabinet had met an independent citizen’s
tribunal that included former Supreme Court Chief Justice VR Krishna Iyer.
Mishra told Sreekumar that Haren Pandya, the then revenue minister, was
suspected to be the one involved in the matter. Sreekumar was given the
mobile number 9824030629 and told to obtain its call details. Pandya reportedly
told the tribunal that the post-Godhra massacres were orchestrated by
Modi, his officials and members of the Sangh Parivar.
On June 12, 2002,
Mishra was told by Sreekumar that the minister suspected to have met the
commission was none other than Haren Pandya. Sreekumar, however, refused
to submit this information in writing. He said it was a sensitive matter
and not connected with the charter of duties. Further call details of
the number were handed over by OP Mathur, IGP (Administration and Security).
It was learnt that Haren Pandya used this mobile.
On March 26, 2003,
Haren Pandya was assassinated and his father Vithalbhai Pandya said that
his son’s assassination was “a political murder”. Speaking
to Tehelka, he blamed Modi for Pandya’s murder. So embittered was
Vithalbhai that he contested the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha against LK Advani,
was not the only time the Modi government had issued instructions for
tapping a senior politician’s phone. At a meeting on April 16, 2002,
Modi told Sreekumar that Congress leaders, in particular Shankersinh Vaghela,
were responsible for the continuing communal violence in the state. The
meeting (apart from Modi and Sreekumar) was attended by then DGP K. Chakravarti
and the CM’s PS PK Mishra and Modi’s OSD. Sreekumar told Modi
that he had no information regarding the involvement of the Congress leaders
in communal violence. At this, Modi asked him to tap Vaghela’s phone
but Sreekumar refused saying he had no information on the basis of which
he could order surveillance.
days later, controversial IB Joint Director Rajinder Kumar, posted in
Ahmedabad, sold the same line to Sreekumar. When Sreekumar sought specific
information, the IB man said he had none. The IB had been one of the few
claiming the Godhra incident was a ‘pre-planned conspiracy’.
It is still not clear how the IB was able to reach this conclusion within
hours of the incident and questions have been raised about Kumar’s
proximity to Modi.
Sreekumar also documented
the incident that was one of the main reasons for the Modi government
to hound him. On August 9, 2002 at the Ahmedabad circuit house annexe,
senior officials, who had been asked to attend the meeting convened by
then Chief Election Commissioner JM Lyngdoh, assembled in a room next
to the conference hall. Chief Secretary Subba Rao, Additional Chief Secretary
Ashok Narayan, DGP K. Chakravarthi, Police Commissioner KR Kaushik, Principal
Secretary (Revenue) CK Koshy, Relief Commissioner Shah and Joint Secretary
(Home) K. Nityanandan were present.
At the meeting, Subba
Rao told officials that they must maintain that complete normalcy has
been restored in the state. When Lyngdoh arrived, officials said the situation
was under control and total normalcy has been restored. The chief secretary
also requested Lyngdoh to see the presentation prepared by Nityanandan.
Interrupting Rao, Lyngdoh said that he was not interested in the presentations.
He said that he was aware of the ground realities in the state. Lyngdoh
refused to believe the officials’ claim that normalcy was restored
in the riot-hit areas. Lyngdoh said he had seen Sreekumar’s reports
about the situation and that these matched his own assessment.