Gulberg Massacre Conspiracy: The Telltale Mobile Call Records of February 27/28, 2002

Written by Teesta Setalvad | Published on: June 18, 2016

Calls to/from main accused

⇒Pande spoke to Jaideep Patel, VHP Gujarat general secretary and accused in the Naroda Patiya and Gaam massacres once during the day at 19:31 ours (incoming call). By then the massacre was over.

Analysis of calls made from his office landline phone to mobiles of officers show that he connected to mobiles operating in Ahmedabad city only 13 times (out of 302 calls).
Of these, 12 were incoming calls on his landline phone. He made just one phone call from his landline number and that too was probably not to an officer. In addition, this single call was made at 20:10:56 by when most of the massacre and mayhem was over. It can be concluded that he did not use the landline to pass orders or instructions to his field officers.

Pande has so far stuck to his ludicrous claim that he had no information of the happenings in Naroda Patiya or Gulberg Society. In the deposition before the Nanavati Commission he attributed this to memory loss concerning the events of February 28, 2002. Pande must be recalled by the commission and re-examined in the wake of these fresh disclosures. That he was fully informed about the developments at Gulberg Society and at Naroda are obvious from his call details. The police control room records confirm that KG Erda, PI Meghaninagar police station (Gulberg Society is under its jurisdiction) called the PCR 10 times. The SIT under RK Raghavan never did grill Pande on these incriminating calls.

In 2010, CC had asked: Has Erda been made the fall guy for the lapses of his superiors? Today seven years after he was arraigned as accused by the SIT, he has been acquitted by Judge PB Desai.

Pande Also Guilty of Not Declaring Curfew on Time

Pande is also guilty of not declaring curfew on time. Curfew was declared only at 12.54 pm on February 28, 2002 after PCR Shahibaug reported that a 5,000-strong mob had gathered there (12.38 pm) Piecemeal curfew was declared at 12.38 (in another area, not in Meghaninagar) and then at 12.54 pm in the Meghaninagar area instead of a single order being issued for the whole of Ahmedabad city where mobs were on the rampage in different areas simultaneously. Why?

Was this a part of the strategy to keep areas unprotected and to leave the mobs to roam free?

Investigations into the mobile phone records of over 200 individuals have revealed that bureaucrats heading Modi’s office (CMO), ministers, top police officers and several of the prime accused were constantly in touch with each other on the critical two days of mass murder, gang rapes and arson

The inaction on the part of Pande is apparent. The real question that arises is the root cause of this inaction: Did he omit to take necessary measures of his own volition, or was he coerced into doing so?

There is another aspect that requires detailed consideration and investigation. On the evening/night of February 27, a meeting was called by the CM. Pande was one of the officers who attended the meeting. What instructions were issued by the CM at the meeting? Were the officers instructed to take firm action? If that was so, then would any officer have dared to disobey the CM over a legal order?

No Serious Disciplinary Actions Against Officers to Date by Gujarat Government

The state government has till this day not taken any serious disciplinary action against any officer. Denying a handful of officers a few months’ salary is all that the government has to show by way of disciplinary action for gross dereliction of duty. It is evident from such farcical action that the Gujarat government was not agitated by the intentional lack of compliance of its legal orders, assuming it had issued any.

Role of Joint Commissioner of Police (Ahmedabad) MK Tandon

Tandon too was in his office late on the night of February 27/28, until about 1.15 am. He was back at his office at by about 8.30 am.

Tandon had visited Gulberg society at around 11.25 am on February 28. But as police witness testimonies before the trial court show, on reaching the spot accompanied by a strike force, he found there a restive mob in an ugly mood. Junior officers on duty pleaded with him to rush additional police personnel to the trouble spot. But he simply left the place with his well-armed strike force in tow. Was his decision to leave Gulberg society unprotected a professional decision or governed by political pressure?

Tandon’s call records show that he received many calls from political bigwigs and some of the prime accused:

In the early hours of February 28 (0.32 am) he received a call from Zadaphia; much later, around 5.00 pm a call from Kaushik Jamnadas Patel, state minister for power. Nimesh Patel, accused of killing eight people, got in touch at 22:28:34 on February 28.

⇒ At 12:06:57 pm (afternoon) Tandon received a call from his immediate boss Pande. Tandon was at Gulberg Society at that time. They talked for about 75 seconds. What they talked about is not known?

⇒ At around 12:10 pm, there was a wireless message from a vehicle of the Meghaninagar police station to the police control room informing that police had resorted to firing at Gulberg Society. Anyone familiar with police operations would agree that it is not routine practice that the police rush to inform the police control room as soon as they resort to firing. Police would normally inform the control room only after the situation eases a bit. This can only mean that when Tandon got a call from Pande, police had either already resorted to firing or the mob surrounding the Gulberg Society had become so restive that police firing was imminent. In such a situation, Tandon would certainly have mentioned to Pande the grave situation prevailing at the Gulberg Society.

⇒ At 11:34 am he made a call to his DCP PB Gondia while he was somewhere near the Shayona Plaza Tower area, which is within 1.5 mtrs. of the Gulberg Society, Meghaninagar. Eye-witnesses and police witnesses have testified to Tandon’s visit and this fact has not been denied by Tandon either.

⇒ Again at 11.43 am he made a call to Pande on the latter’s mobile number. He made a call thereafter to the police control room at 11.47 am. He then received a call at 11.48 am from an undisclosed landline number. Ten minutes later, he made another call and yet again at 11.58 a.m. He took another call from an undisclosed number to the Control room landline. At 12.06 pm, he received a call from Pande (mobile). Thereafter, he made a call to RJ Savani, DCP Zone V (a neighbouring zone) at 12.09 p.m. He was still in this area when he called Pande at 12:.37 pm.  In between at 12.11 pm he made a call to DCP Jabelia of Zone VI while his location shows him at Kailash Complex, Naroda. When he received a call from Savani at 12.13 pm, he was at the same location but a minute later at 12.14 when he called Pande his location showed up as Kubernagar.

⇒ There are other calls including two calls made to Pande at 12.18 pm when he was at the Kubernagar location. Between 12.11 pm and 12.33 pm, when he received and made calls his location is shown as Kailash Complex Naroda. Thereafter at 12.41 pm. and 12.42 pm he is shown at Vishal Diamond Factory near New India Colony at Bapunagar. This is a factory owned by MOS home, Zadaphia. Then he is out of the affected area and is shown to be in the vicinity of or at the Bora marriage Hall, Rakhial, Char Rasta (12.44 pm).The phone call records of both Pande and Tandon show that at the critical time when the latter visits Gulberg Society (between 11.43 am and 12.42 pm) when the mob build up was at its height, the two spoke to each other six times. Tandon’s justification of his departure without leaving behind the strike force (evidence before the Trial Court).