Clean chit to Narendra Modi in 2002 Gujarat riots case

AHMEDABAD (TIP): In a major relief to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, a metropolitan court on December 26 rejected the protest petition filed by Zakia Jafri, wife of a former Congress MP, against the clean chit given to him and others by the Special Investigation Team in the 2002 Gujarat riots. Metropolitan Magistrate B J Ganatra while pronouncing the order in open court told Zakia’s counsel Mihir Desai that her petition has been rejected and they have the liberty to approach a higher court.

Jafri, whose husband Ehsan Jafri, a former Congress MP, was among 68 people killed in the Gulbarg society massacre here during the post-Godhra riots, had filed a protest petition on April 15, this year objecting to the Supreme Court-appointed SIT’s closure report absolving Modi of complicity in the conspiracy behind the carnage. 74-year-old Zakia, who was present at the court, broke down after the verdict was out and said she will appeal against it in the higher court in a month. “The only hurdle in the acceptance of SIT’s recommendations was the protest petition and the protest petition was rejected, obviously the SIT report has been accepted. So, SIT’s investigation, integrity, impartiality, all have been given a judicial stamp,” R S Jamuar, SIT’s counsel, told reporters after the verdict. After completing its investigation on Zakia’s complaint, the SIT had had filed its closure report on February 8, last year.

It concluded that despite difficulties in obtaining evidence in the case because of the lapse of eight years, whatever material it could gather was not sufficient enough to prosecute those against whom allegations of hatching the conspiracy had been levelled. In her petition, Zakia had demanded rejection of the SIT report and an order by the court to file charge sheet against Modi, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, and others. Zakia had filed a complaint against 63 persons, including Modi, his ministerial colleagues, top police officers and BJP functionaries accusing them of a wider conspiracy in the riots which left more than 1,000 people dead, mostly Muslims.

Jamuar said the complainant had the option to move the court of the District Judge or the High Court against the order. The apex court had ordered an inquiry into Zakia’s complaint by SIT headed by CBI former Director R K Raghavan. The SIT had submitted its report to the Supreme Court after investigations into the complaint. It had interrogated several people, including Modi, who was quizzed for more than nine hours in March 2010. The Supreme Court, after going through the report, had asked amicus curiae Raju Ramchandran to independently varify the SIT investigations. Ramchandran had also submitted his report to the Supreme court and, according to Zakia, it had sufficient grounds to put Modi and others on trial.


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