Guj riots: SC for independent overview of SIT rpt

The Supreme Court sought an independent overview of the evidence recorded by the SIT into the alleged role of Gujarat Chief Minister Narender Modi.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday sought an
independent overview of the evidence recorded by the SIT into
the alleged role of Gujarat Chief Minister Narender Modi and
others in the killing of Congress MP Ehsan Jafri in Ahmedabad
during the 2002 riots.

The court asked senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, who
is assisting it as an amicus curaie in the riot cases, to
analyse the report, comments and statements of the witnesses
and, if needed, interact with them to give an "objective"
assessment of the evidence.

It said if the amicus curaie, on examining them, comes
to the conclusion about the culpability of any person in the
case he would be at liberty to mention the names in the report
which has to be filed within eight weeks.

"If the amicus curaie on the basis of evidence on record
finds that any offence is made out against any person he shall
mention the same in the report," a special bench comprising
justices D K Jain, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam said.

"We are not commenting on the report," the bench said
about the Special Investigating Team report placed in a sealed
cover before it on April 25.

The report was placed in compliance to the March 15
order of the bench which had asked the SIT to further probe
the complaint filed by Ehsan Jafri`s wife Jakia Ahsan alleging
that Modi, top politicians, bureaucrats and police officers
had engineered the post-Godhra riots in which her husband was
also burnt alive by mobs in Gulbarg Society.

In an earlier report, the SIT had reportedly said there
was not enough evidence against Modi in the case.

While taking on record the status report filed by SIT
after further probe, the bench asked Ramachandran to make an
"independent" and "objective" assessment of evidence and he
was free to interact with the witnesses who have recorded
their evidence.

The bench in its order said "the Chairman SIT, R K
Raghavan, furnished his comments on the investigation
conducted by his team along with the report of further
investigation. The statements of witnesses are also filed.

"The copies of the report, along with the comments of
the Chairman, be given to the amicus curaie who shall analyse
them in the light of evidence, statements of witnesses and
have his independent assessment of the entire evidence which
has come on record. It is open to the amicus to interact with
any of the witnesses who have been examined by the SIT and
also by any other police officer as deem fit by him," it said.

After the bench passed the order, senior advocate
Shanti Bhushan, appearing for Jafri, alleged a "cover-up job"
was being done by the investigators".