SIT exceeding jurisdiction: Gujarat govt tells SC

Last Updated: Thursday, July 30, 2009 - 21:22

New Delhi: Gujarat government on Thursday alleged before the Supreme Court that the Special Investigation Team appointed by it to probe the post-Godhra riot cases was exceeding its jurisdiction and working in a prejudicial manner in examining the role of Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the incidents.
The accusation was made by the state government even
as the apex court extended the three-month time till December
31 for the SIT to file its report relating to a complaint
against Modi and others.

The charge by the state government came when the apex
court was considering the report of the SIT headed by former
CBI Director R K Raghavan seeking extension of five months to
complete its probe into the alleged role of Modi, his cabinet
colleagues and police officials in aiding and abetting
killings during post-Godhra riots in 2002.

"What SIT is doing is not allowed or sanctioned by
this court. It is going much beyond its jurisdiction and order
of this court," senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for
Gujarat government, told a Bench headed by Justice D K Jain.

The court had on April 27 asked the SIT to complete
the probe within three months on a complaint made by Jakia
Nasim Ahesan, wife of slain Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, accusing
Modi and 62 others of aiding and abetting the persons involved
in the killings during the 2002 riots that followed the Godhra
train carnage.

Rohatgi was opposing the extension of time sought by the
SIT contending that appeals are going to be filed against the
Gujarat High Court order which dismissed a petition
challenging the inquiry by a SIT against Modi and others.

"The Special Leave Petitions (SLPs) are going to be
filed. Please don`t extend the time till you (Bench) hear the
SLPs. SIT is working in a prejudicial manner," he said.

However, the Bench said granting more time to the SIT
will not cause prejudice.

"We are unable to appreciate what prejudice will be
caused to you. They are doing their job according to the order
passed by this court" the Bench, also comprising Justices P
Sathasivam and Aftab Alam, said.

The SIT, which was asked to examine the complaint made
by Jafri`s wife, in a report apprised the Bench about the
progress of its preliminary inquiry and said work being
voluminous it required extension of time for concluding it.

Advocate Sharad Vakil, appearing for one of the
accused named in the complaint by Jafri, said the complaint
has not been registered by the police and as such the SIT
cannot examine it.

He said the High Court had on July 24 the petition
saying SIT was acting not only under the direction but
practically under the supervision of the Supreme Court to
which it has to submit its report.

However, the Bench said it will deal with the issue
when the matter comes before it.

The Bench also declined the plea of advocate Prashant
Bhushan, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae in the
Jafri matter, that instead af granting five months, the SIT
should be asked to submit its report within three months by
October 31.

"We have only given the outer limit of submitting the
report. SIT can submit its report before December 31 also,"
the Bench said.

Bhushan also wanted that a petition seeking contempt
proceedings against the Gujarat Chief Minister for his alleged
remarks in connection with the probe ordered on April 27
against him and others should be fixed for hearing.

However, the Bench said it cannot pass an order for
listing the matter and the Registry will process it for the
purpose of hearing.

The contempt petition filed by Bhushan on May 1 had
alleged that Modi had remarked that the probe against him was
ordered by the Supreme Court as a result of a conspiracy
involving Congress.

The SIT, which has investigated nine cases including
the Godhra train burning and subsequent riots cases, has been
submitting its reports before the apex court.

The SIT constituted on March 26, 2008, was asked to
"inquire and investigate" cases relating to Godhra carnage, in
which 59 people were killed, and subsequent riots in places
like Godhra, Gulbarg Society in Ahmedabad, Naroda Gaon, Naroda
Patiya and Sardarpura.

Bureau Report



First Published: Thursday, July 30, 2009 - 21:22

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