Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava
Ahmedabad: A magistrate court in Ahmedabad is set to announce on Thursday its decision on Zakia Jafri`s petition challenging the closure report of Special Investigation Team, which gave a clean chit to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 58 others in connection with the 2002 communal riots case.
Ehsan Jafri, then Congress MP and husband of Zakia Jafri, the main petitioner in the case, was among 68 others who were burnt alive during the 2002 riots in Gujarat.
Jafri`s frantic phone calls for help to the police and politicians were allegedly ignored at the time of incident.
Jafri later alleged that Chief Minister Modi colluded with senior ministers, bureaucrats and the police to fan the communal violence that tore through the state.
Jafri`s allegations were investigated by a Special Investigating Team or SIT appointed by the Supreme Court in March 2008.
Modi was interrogated in 2010 by the SIT for over nine hours.
In 2011, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case and said it would be handled by an Ahmedabad court.
In April 2011, Sanjiv Bhatt, who was a senior police officer in 2002, said that at a meeting, Modi told him and other cops to allow Hindus in the state to exact revenge for the killing of 59 karsevaks on the Sabarmati Express near Godhra.
However, the SIT concluded that Sanjiv Bhatt`s testimony was not reliable because he was nursing a grudge against the government as he was sidelined by the Modi administration.
The SIT also alleged that the petition was a motivated one and was filed at the instance of anti-Modi activist Teesta Setalvad.
After four years, the SIT said in February 2012 that there was no prosecutable evidence against Modi and the others and filed a closure report indicating its inquiry has ended.
Jafri contested that decision and challenged the SIT`s closure report and the clean-chit given to Modi.
Arguments got over in September 2013. SIT counsel RS Jamuar argued before the court that no direct or circumstantial evidence supporting Jafri`s allegations was found, while her lawyers argued that SIT ignored the relevant evidence and shielded the main culprits.
Magistrate BJ Ganatra said that he would deliver the order on October 28, but it was deferred to December 2, and then to December 26.
Magistrate BJ Ganatra`s court will rule on her petition today.
Today`s verdict comes just as the BJP has decided to launch an aggressive "Modi-for-PM" campaign ahead of next year`s national election.
Today`s ruling of the Gujarat court will decide whether Zakia`s case against chief minister Narendra Modi, now the BJP`s prime ministerial candidate, and 59 others stands closed.
An adverse court verdict court can cause a major dent to the main opposition party, BJP`s, massive `Modi-for-PM` campaign and its chances of ousting Congress at the Centre in 2014 polls.
Here are the deeper details of the case:-