Man at the centre of inquiries into Guj, 1984 riots


Former Supreme Court judge justice Girish Thakorlal Nanavati, who headed the inquiry commissions into the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and 2002 post-Godhra riots, died due to cardiac failure on Saturday. He was 86.

The commission headed by him had given the clean chit to the state government under then chief minister Narendra Modi in the post-Godhra communal riots.

Nanavati, born on February 17, 1935, was enrolled as an advocate in the Bombay High Court on February 11, 1958. He, however, shifted practice to Gujarat following the bifurcation of the state in 1960.

In his judicial career spanning 21 years, justice Nanavati headed the high courts of Orissa and Karnataka, after being elevated to the bench as a judge of the Gujarat high court in July 1979.

He retired from the Supreme Court in February 2000 after a tenure of five years at the top court.

Following his retirement, the then NDA government appointed justice Nanavati to a one-man commission by justice Nanavati to probe the 1984 riots anti-Sikh riots, in May 2000. The 185-page report was submitted to the government in 2005.

The commission said in its report, submitted in 2005, that there was “credible evidence” against then Union minister and Congress leader Jagdish Tytler, and also pointed to probable roles of various other Congress leaders.

In 2002, after communal riots broke out in Gujarat following the deaths of 59 karsevaks in the Godhra train burning incident, the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi set up a one-member commission, with justice Nanavati as the chairman, for conducting a probe.

In its report, submitted in 2014, the commission said the riots were “not a pre-planned conspiracy or orchestrated violence”, and there was no substance in allegations that state authorities turned a blind eye to the violence.

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