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Guj government harps on 'conspiracy' theory before Nanavati panel

Written by: Staff
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Ahmedabad, Dec 4 (UNI) Making a strong case that the Sabarmati Express carnage incident of February 27, 2002 was the result of a 'pre-planned conspiracy', the Gujarat government today said the 'conspirators' had made arrangements to target the kar sevaks travelling in the train at the Godhra station a night before.

Submitting a list of witnesses and evidence to corroborate the conspiracy theory to the Nanavati-Shah Commission probing into the Godhra incident and its aftermath, Government counsel Sumit Shah said scientific investigation has found that 36 out of 38 samples of the liquid used in the S-6 coach carnage, had presence of hydrocarbons and two indicated presence of acidic elements. This has been mentioned by the Forensic Science Laboratory in its report, he added.

He cited the evidence given by the Railway staff, other passengers and police investigation in support of his contention.

''Crowds that gathered in hundreds, they were armed too, showed that the incident was not a spontaneous reaction to some altercation but a conspiracy was surely hatched,'' he stressed.

Mr Shah also said there was enough evidence on record to prove that the perpertrators of the crime-Salim Paanwala, Abdul Razzak Kurkur, Saleem Zarda etc--had met at the Aman Guest House in Godhra on February 26, 2002 and the petrol was collected from a petrol station in canisters of 20 litres and kept it in a room of the guest house.

''They made inquiries at night about the train and learnt that it was running over four hours late,'' he added.

The train after it departed from Godhra at 0748 hrs, was first pulled to a stop at 0750 hrs first. It was again stopped by chain pulling, barely eight minutes later, at Signal Falia, less than a kilometre away from the station.

Stone-pelting took place at the station and continued when it stopped at Signal Falia. It was here the petrol canisters were brought in and the coach set ablaze, he said.

He said the fire could not have been an accident as the coach seats were made of fire retardant materials and this has been ascertained by the Lucknow-based Railway Research Design and Standards Organisation.

Quoting the findings of the Railway Tribunal, Mr Shah said statements under Section 164 of IPC and 32 of POTA, said S-6 coach was set on fire after ''meticulous arranging of chain pulling on two occasions by persons conversant with train halting mechanism.

UNI MMG GB PA VC1855

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