Former Modi minister quizzed by riots panel

The Nanavati-Mehta Commission probing the 2002 riots on Tuesday questioned former minister and state BJP vice-president I K Jadeja. The in-camera deposition took place in the judge's chamber and lasted nearly 30 minutes.

Jadeja was the urban development minister in the Modi government in 2002 and was reportedly in the state police control room along with late state health minister Ashok Bhatt during the communal riots.

Jadeja was also present at the February 27, 2002 meeting called by CM Narendra Modi, where suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt allegedly heard him asking top officials to go easy on rioting mobs.

Talking to reporters after his deposition, Jadeja said, "The Commission had a few questions pertaining to Godhra and post-Godhra riots and I have answered them all." Asked if he was questioned about Bhatt's and his presence in the February 27, 2002 meeting, the BJP leader said, "They (the justices) had a few questions and I have answered them. Since the matter is sub judice, I cannot divulge much."

The commission had earlier summoned Jadeja in September and then in October. However, the BJP leader had failed to appear on both the occasions.

Meanwhile, immediately after Jadeja's questioning, the Congress and Jan Sangharsh Manch filed separate applications before the Commission, seeking permission to cross-examination Jadeja.

"Jadeja's role during riots is well-documented and there was no need to hold the deposition in-camera. We have filed an application to allow his cross-examination," advocate VH Kanara, who is representing the state Congress, said. Shamshad Pathan, advocate for JSM, also said that they too had filed an application for cross-examining Jadeja. Both pleas are pending.

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