Nanavati panel gets its 20th extension

The Gujarat government has granted an extension to the Nanavati-Mehta Commission, which is probing into the 2002 Godhra train carnage and the subsequent communal riots, giving it time till December 31 to submit its final report.

A senior official with the Commission said a notification in this regard was issued by the state government on June 29 and the commission now has time till December 31, 2013, to submit the final report.

It is the 20th time that the tenure of the commission has been extended. Last time, its term was extended in December 2012.

Initially, the terms of reference (TOR) of the Commission were to inquire into facts, circumstances and course of events that led to the burning of the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express near Godhra railway station.

The TOR was amended in June 2002 and the Commission was asked to look into the incidents that took place after the Godhra train burning.

The Commission has already given its first report pertaining to the burning of the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express in which 59 Kar Sevaks were charred to death on February 27, 2002. The Commission had called the incident a pre-planned conspiracy involving "some individuals".

The Commission made it clear that "...there is absolutely no evidence to show that either the Chief Minister and/or any other Minister(s) in his Council of Ministers or Police Officers had played any role in the Godhra incident."

It also gave a clean chit to the state government on the incidents that followed the train burning.

The Commission, appointed by the Modi government shortly after the 2002 riots, initially comprised Justices (Retired) G T Nanavati and K G Shah.

However, with Shah's death in 2008, Justice (Retired) Akshay Mehta was appointed as the second member.

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