Haren Pandya was the Home Minister of the Gujarat State in India. He was murdered in 2003 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, when he was sitting in his car (place of his murder is contentious,) after a morning walk in the Law Garden area in Ahmedabad.
He represented the Ellis Bridge constituency of Ahmedabad City as a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Legislator. He was a member of the RSS from his early age and was also a Municipal Councillor from the Paldi Area of Ahmedabad City. Pandya was a strong supporter of Keshubhai Patel, along with Sanjay Joshi and Gordhan Zadafia. In 1998, after the BJP came to power in Gujarat with Keshubhai as Chief Minister, Narendra Modi was ousted and denied BJP ticket in the Gujarat Assembly Elections of 2002. Since then Modi and Pandya were in conflict. Both Joshi and Zadaphia were eventually removed from the BJP.
Haren Pandya wife Jagruti Pandya contested on Gujarat Parivartan Party ticket in 2012 on the premise that the Modi Government was involved in the conspiracy to murder her husband. She quoted "My husband's assassination was a political murder. For the last 10 years I have been fighting a legal battle to get him justice but in vain, however, I will continue to fight."
After the Godhra riots, it was reported that Pandya, in a cabinet meeting, had opposed the bringing of the bodies of the victims of Godhra carnage to Ahmedabad because that would arouse passion. He was the only person able to arrange meetings between Victim's family members and Muslim leaders for Peace talk But he was shouted down at the meeting by some ministers 
Aftermath of Pandya's Murder
A lot of controversy followed his murder and top BJP Leaders such as Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the then Deputy Prime Minister of India Lal Krishna Advani were under intense criticism from within the Sangh Pariwar and General Public for sidelining Haren Pandya and not providing him proper security despite threats to his life and his request for security cover. Sanjiv Bhatt had even alerted Pandya about a threat to his life and even spoke out about Pandya to SIT probing Godhra riots.
On August 29, 2011 all the 12 people accused of murdering Pandya were acquitted of the murder charges by the Gujarat high court, but other charges including criminal conspiracy and attempt to murder were retained. The high court called the CBI's work a "botched up and blinkered" investigation.
Thus, the murder of such a prominent person remains unsolved
Reports on Sohrabuddin Sheikh's involvement in murder
In August 2011, after the court dismissed the CBI case, the newspaper DNA reported that Sohrabuddin Sheikh, a criminal who had earlier been killed by the Gujarat police in a false encounter, and his associate Tulsiram, may have been "used to kill Haren Pandya". Citing unnamed sources in the Gujarat State Police, they said that Sohrabuddin was initially given the task but he back-pedalled and the murder was then executed by Tulsiram. In the encounter killings of Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram, the Gujarat state attorney K T S Tulsi has admitted before the court that these individuals were killed by the state police. These encounter killings were a result of unease among the conspirators:
- However, the alleged conspirators at whose behest Pandya was killed began to lose confidence in Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram and, eventually, their equations began to worsen, the source said. The change of power at the Centre after the 2004 Lok Sabha elections gave the alleged conspirators another reason to eliminate Sohrabuddin and Tulsi in fake encounters.
A similar charge has been made by ex-IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who was told by an inmate in Sabarmati jail about Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram's involvement in the murder. When Bhatt mentioned this to Amit Shah, Shah sounded "very disturbed over the telephone" and asked him "not to speak about it to anyone". Bhatt followed this up with a letter to Shah detailing the "involvement of Sohrabuddin and some policemen in the murder". Bhatt was immediately transferred from Sabarmati jail, and was eventually suspended.
D.G. Vanzara, an ex-IPS who had originally investigated the Pandya murder, and has been in jail for six years on charges of coordinating the Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram encounters, told the CBI in Sept 2013 about Sohrabuddin's role in Pandya's murder. Vanzara has also blamed Modi's Home minister Amit Shah for ordering the series of encounter killings. The CBI has charged Amit Shah with being the "kingpin and prime accused" in the Tulsiram Prajapati murder case.
- Subrahmaniam, Vidya (January 5, 2012). "Haren Pandya's wife says he could not have been shot in his car". The Hindu (Chennai, India).
- "Who killed Haren Pandya?". The Times Of India.
- Haren Pandya murder: HC acquits all accused, Zeenews, August 29, 2011
- Haren Pandya murder case: Gujarat HC acquits all accused, Times Of India, August 29, 2011
- Sarim Naved (September 17, 2011). "The Haren Pandya Judgment: Dissection of a Botched Investigation". Economic and Political Weekly, Vol - XLVI No. 38,. Retrieved 2013-09-30.
- "Was it Tulsiram Prajapati who killed Haren Pandya?". DNA (newspaper). August 30, 2011. Retrieved 2013-09-30.
- Kauser Bi killed, body burnt; Gujarat govt to SC
- D. P. Bhattacharya (August 31, 2011). "Tulsiram Prajapati killed Haren Pandya, says Sanjiv Bhatt". India Today.
- By VINOD K JOSE (March 2012). "The Emperor Uncrowned : The rise of Narendra Modi". Caravan magazine. Retrieved 2013-09-30.
- "DG Vanzara sings about Haren Pandya murder, says it was political conspiracy: CBI". Times of India. September 21, 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-30.