Nanavati panel refuses to cross examine ex-minister Zadafia

The Commission, however, issued orders summoning IPS officer R J Savani, who was DCP Zone 5 during the riots.

The NGO Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM) in its application had sought summoning of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Ashok Bhatt, Zadafia and Savani.
Since the JSM did not press for summoning Modi and Bhatt, the Commission, comprising retd Justices G T Nanavati and Akshay Mehta, did not pass any order with regard to the two BJP leaders.

JSM had contended that it would press for calling Modi and Bhatt only after the subordinate staff and other ministers are examined.
The Commission also rejected another application of JSM to summon three officials of Modi's office.

While rejecting the plea to summon Zadafia, the Commission observed, "it appears to the Commission that the motive of JSM in making applications for summoning persons named in the applications is not guided by the consideration of assisting the Commission but by some other consideration".

The Commission said that Zadafia, who has parted ways with BJP and floated his own party, can't be considered as a witness and hence cannot be cross-examined.
"He (Zadafia) has neither filed an affidavit nor given evidence on oath before the Commission...he cannot be said to be a witness as contemplated by section 8C (of Commissions of Inquiry Act)," the Commission observed.

The JSM had contended that Zadafia, who was the MoS Home during post-Godhra riots, has admitted before the Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) of making phone calls to some persons who are now accused in the Naroda Patiya riot case.

Zadafia could have revealed many important facts about the riots to the Commission, JSM had said.

With regard to Savani, JSM had claimed that he had played a role in bringing the bodies of those killed in the Godhra train burning incident to Ahmedabad and was in constant touch with Zadafia during the post-Godhra riots.

The state government had opposed JSM's contention saying that there was no need to summon Zadafia and Savani as their statements have already been recorded by the SIT.

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