2002 Gujarat riots: Order on Zakia Jafri`s plea likely on Monday

Last Updated: Sunday, December 1, 2013 - 17:54

Ahmedabad: The court of metropolitan magistrate is likely to pronounce its order on Monday on Zakia Jafri`s plea protesting closure report of Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team, giving clean chit to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others with regard to alleged conspiracy behind the 2002 riots.

The pronouncement of order was deferred on October 28 for tomorrow after arguments on Jafri`s petition by her lawyers and SIT`s counsel had continued for five months before metropolitan magistrate BJ Ganatra.

After completion of arguments, Jafri`s lawyer handed over written submissions to the court on September 18 while SIT filed its written submissions on September 30.

Magistrate Ganatra had then said that he would pronounce the order on October 28. However, on October 28, the magistrate deferred pronouncement of order for December 2.

Jafri, whose husband and former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri was among 69 people killed in the Gulbarg society massacre here during the 2002 post-Godhra riots, had filed a petition objecting the SIT`s closure report absolving Modi of any conspiracy.

After completing its investigation on Jafri`s complaint, SIT, on February 8, 2012, had filed the probe report concluding 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 conspiracy for 2002 riots had been levelled.

Protesting SIT`s report, Jafri, on April 15 this year, filed a petition demanding the rejection of report as well as an order from the court to file charge sheet against Modi and others.

While defending its report and demanding the rejection of Jafri`s petition, SIT counsel RS Jamuar had submitted that no direct or circumstantial evidence has been found during its investigation which can prima facie support Jafri`s allegations.

SIT, during its submissions and in replies to the issues raised by Jafri, contended that no evidentiary value could be attached to the testimonies given by three IPS officers RB Sreekumar, Sanjeev Bhatt and Rahul Sharma, whom Jafri cited as witnesses.

SIT also blamed the three officers for holding grudge against the state government and accused them of conspiring to fabricate evidence to `malign` Modi.

Furthermore, Jamuar also said that SIT was never asked to probe into the conspiracy angle of the post-Godhra riots by the Supreme Court, which constituted the probe agency and it would have been unconstitutional had it done so.

"The SIT was mandated to investigate nine cases, including the Godhra train burning incident. In six cases, investigation has been completed and judgements have been delivered. The appeals of convicts and some of the acquitted in some cases are pending before the Gujarat High Court," he had said.

However, Jafri`s lawyers had argued that SIT, throughout its investigation, totally ignored the evidence and material and even alleged that the Supreme Court appointed probe agency was shielding the main culprits behind the 2002 riots, in which close to 1,000 people were killed.
"The SIT, instead of functioning like an independent investigating agency, has been doing the job of shielding the powerful accused," advocate Mihir Desai had said, during his submissions on behalf of Jafri.

They also alleged that the SIT had been `misleading` the court and `deliberately distorting` higher court`s orders.

Zakia`s lawyers also maintained that there was enough evidence to prosecute Modi for alleged role in the post-Godhra riots.

PTI

First Published: Sunday, December 1, 2013 - 17:16

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