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Above:  Zakia Jafri. Photo: YouTube

Court upholds SIT clean chit to the then chief minister of Gujarat and senior bureaucrats

The Gujarat High Court on Thursday (October 5) refused to accede to a petition which had asked for the inclusion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 59 others, including senior police officers and bureaucrats, as accused for being party to a “conspiracy” that led to the 2002 Godhra riots and killings. The petition was placed by Zakia Jafri, widow of slain ex-MP Ehsan Jafri.

This verdict of the high court was a reaction to NGO Citizen for Justice and Peace’s (led by activist Teesta Setalvad) criminal review petition against a magistrate’s order that upheld the SIT clean chit to Modi and others. The allegations refuted were of a “larger criminal conspiracy” behind the riots.

The high court’s Justice Sonia Gokani, however, allowed Jafri to move the Supreme Court on this.

The case is about a February 28, 2002 mob attack in which the Congress leader Ehsan Jafri was killed. Also brutally murdered were 67 others in the Gulberg Society. These riots started following the Godhra train burning incident.

The SIT’s deposition before the high court said that its probe was monitored by the Supreme Court and that it report was generally accepted by all. The court decided that there was no need for further investigation, especially regarding the “conspiracy” angle.

Jafri’s counsel Mihir Desai had pointed out to the court that the magistrate never considered rejecting the report or ordering a fresh probe, neither did it consider signed statements of witnesses. He also pointed out that submissions of key witnesses such as (former IPS officers) Sanjiv Bhatt, RB Sreekumar and Rahul Sharma were not even considered, neither was Tehelka magazine’s sting operation result.

India Legal Bureau

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