New Delhi: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the alleged role of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in post-Godhra killing of ex-Congress MP Ehsan Jaffrey on Friday submitted its report to the Supreme Court.
The SIT chief and former CBI Director R.K. Raghavan submitted the report in a sealed cover to the Supreme Court registry as directed by the apex court in its May 6 order.
The SIT had earlier sought time for submitting the report as it wanted to question VHP leader Praveen Togadia who was last week questioned by the SIT which had earlier questioned Mr. Modi and several other persons named in the complaint lodged by the slain MP’s wife Zakia.
The apex court had on April 27, 2009, asked the SIT to look into the complaint of Ms. Zakia about the alleged role of Mr. Modi and others in Gulbarg Housing Society killing in which the former MP was burnt alive along with several others during the post-Godhra 2002 communal riots in Gujarat.
Mr. Modi was earlier grilled by the apex court-appointed Special Investigation Team on his alleged role in the 2002 killing of Jaffery as the deceased, according to the complaint, had made frantic calls for help to police and the Chief Minister.
The Gujarat government had in a subsequent affidavit in the apex court questioned the SIT’s power to summon Mr. Modi for interrogation.
Earlier on May 6, the Supreme Court had restrained the trial court from pronouncing its judgement in 2002 post-Godhra communal riots cases but refused to stay the ongoing trial, as sought by certain NGOs and rights activists.
“The trial court shall proceed with the trial but no judgement shall be pronounced,” a bench of Justices D K Jain, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam had said.
The apex court also appointed A.K. Malhotra, a former DIG of CBI, to verify allegations of lapses in investigations being conducted by the SIT into 2002 Gujarat communal riots.
The Bench had passed the direction while dealing with the plea of the NGO Citizen for Justice and Peace of Teesta Setalvad and some rights activists who sought a stay of the trial and sought reconstitution of SIT for its alleged bias.
The apex court said Mr. Malhotra would verify the allegations after examining the reply filed by SIT on the issue.
Gujarat government has strongly opposed reconstitution of the SIT and stay of the trial which it said was almost on the verge of conclusion as almost all witnesses had been examined.
The apex court granted permission to SIT to take steps for replacement of two public prosecutors who had withdrawn from the case alleging non-cooperation from the probe agency and one of them also attributed bias to the trial judge.
The bench agreed to the suggestion of amicus curiae and senior counsel Harish Salve that the two new public prosecutors would be appointed through consensus after eliciting the views of the petitioners also.
The 10 cases being monitored by SIT on the earlier directions of the apex court are — Gulberg Society, Ode, Sardarpura, Narodao Gaon, Naroda Patya, Baranpura, Machipith, Tarsali, Pandarwada and Raghavapura.