People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXIII

No. 21

May 31, 2009

 


The Silent Conspirator

Accused No. 29: P C Pande

 

P C 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, Citizens for Justice and Peace (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 locality.

 

What steps did the police take? P C 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 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 P C 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 Bajrang Dal.

 

(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 return.

 

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?