ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Haren Pandya's Murder: Questions without Answers

Gujarat's former Home Minister Haren Pandya is long dead. What refuses to die is the speculation over who killed him, how and why. Three of the four elements that make for a murder are missing. These are: the murderer, the motive and the murder weapon. The only certain element is the murder victim.

The Special Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) Court’s (the trial court) conviction on 25 June 2007 of the 12 accu­sed – given the many gaps and ­infirmities of the case, especially the lack of material evidence – was surprising. On 29 August 2011, the Gujarat High Court ­reversed the lower court’s “perverse and illegal” verdict and acquitted all the ­accused.

In the wake of this acquittal and the ­indictment of the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) work by the high court, there is every reason to believe that the real murderer may have got away with the actual weapon used being nowhere in ­evidence. The killer could be a lone wolf ­assassin, hit man for a gang or a group of conspirators, or an instrument of a terror revenge group linked to rabid clerics as well as criminals, perhaps even with cross-border links. Worse, underlying the murder mystery could be a fraught maze involving gangsters, politicians, police officials, businessmen and dirty money, all bound by the common interest to subvert the justice system and suppress the truth about the killing.

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