In May 2002, less than three months after the Gujarat riots, Haren Pandya, then revenue minister in the Narendra Modi government, made a startling revelation to Outlook. He told the magazine (Jun 3, 2002) that on the night of February 27, Narendra Modi held a meeting at his official bungalow in which he specifically instructed bureaucrats and senior police officers, including Ahmedabad police commissioner P.C. Pande, to allow "people to vent their frustration and not come in the way of the Hindu backlash". The VHP had announced a statewide bandh on February 28 to protest the torching of the two bogies of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra which killed 59 persons, including kar sevaks, the previous day.
Pandya's disclosure to Outlook kicked up a storm. It was for the first time that charges were being levelled directly implicating Narendra Modi for his role in the riots that claimed over a thousand victims, mostly Muslims. At that point, Outlook had chosen not to reveal Pandya's identity since he had spoken to us in strict confidence—it's only now that we go public about it. Despite this, many in the Gujarat government suspected him to be the "minister" quoted in our report. Pandya felt that under the circumstances it would be best if he resigned from the government. This he did on August 2, 2002. Seven months later, on March 26, 2003, he was mysteriously murdered. The case is still under investigation.