Pandya murder: Call records belie Bhatt claims, says SIT

Ahd

Even as the CBI challenges the Gujarat High Court's order clearing all the accused of murder charge in the Haren Pandya case, IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's deposition to SIT could have given a new twist to the case, except that the latter found little evidence to support his claim.

Bhatt had deposed before the SIT that he had met Pandya, the former minister of state (home), just outside CM Narendra Modi's residence on the night on February 27, 2002, soon after coming out of the meeting where Modi is alleged to have told police officers and bureaucrats to allow Hindus to vent their anger in the immediate aftermath of the Godhra train attack.

According to Bhatt's deposition, he had called Pandya from his mobile phone asking him to reach Gandhinagar as soon as possible. As Modi's meeting got over, Bhatt said, he came out and met Pandya a few metres away from Modi's bungalow on the Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar Highway.

However, SIT sources said the call records of both Pandya and Bhatt do not support the latter's claim. The SIT, which analysed the call records provided by IPS officer Rahul Sharma in two CDs, found that they did not indicate Pandya's presence in Gandhinagar at that hour.

An SIT official told The Indian Express, "Bhatt claimed he met Pandya and told him everything about the meeting, including what was discussed and who all came in." "He told Pandya that the state government had asked police officers to go soft on rioters and that he (Pandya) faced danger to his life," the official quoted Bhatt's deposition as saying.

Bhatt was then posted as an SP with the state's Intelligence Bureau.

SIT sources said that going by call records, Pandya's personal mobile phone's location on February 27 was in Ahmedabad throughout the day, even when Bhatt is believed to have called him between 9 pm and 10 pm.

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