SIT opposes Rais Khan`s plea to become court witnesses

The special investigation team (SIT) on Monday opposed the application of former coordinator of an NGO, Centre for Justice and Peace (CJP) Rais Khan, to become a court witnesses in the Naroda Gam case of 2002 riots.

Last Updated: Nov 29, 2010, 22:07 PM IST

Ahmedabad: The special investigation team
(SIT) on Monday opposed the application of former coordinator of
an NGO, Centre for Justice and Peace (CJP) Rais Khan, to
become a court witnesses in the Naroda Gam case of 2002 riots.

SIT advocate Ajay Choksi opposing Khan`s plea seeking
permission to be examined as a court witness, said that he was
neither an eye witness nor a victim of the riots in Naroda gam
where 11 persons were killed, hence his plea needs to be
rejected.

He further said that Khan had never approached the SIT
after its formation in 2008, he was not a witness listed in
the charge sheet filed by the agency.

Choksi further alleged that Khan has come to the court
with an intention of helping some of the accused in the case,
who have not opposed his plea.

Designated judge S H Vora hearing the case has
reserved the order on Khan`s application till December 3.

Khan`s lawyer Bhargav Bhatt submitted that his client
could throw light on various aspects of the case including
the affidavits of some of the victims filed in the Supreme
Court that had led to confusion.

He further said that Khan should be allowed to give
his version as some of the witnesses in the case have alleged
that he had manipulated their affidavits.

After the riots, Khan had worked as co-ordinator with
CJP, headed by Teesta Setalvad, from February 28, 2002 to
January 18, 2008.

According to Khan`s application, he was merely an
employee of CJP and his job was to get instructions from
Setalvad over phone, e-mails on day to day bases, contact riot
victims or witnesses in various parts of Gujarat and to pursue
them to join hands with CJP to file cases in the courts.

"I am an important link which can throw light on how
the victims and witnesses were tutored, cheated and made to
sign false affidavits by Teesta Setalvad in the name of
`Interest of Community`," Khan said in his application.

He has stated that he had not manipulated any of the
affidavits as alleged.

Khan further said his duty as coordinator of CJP was
limited to managing the affidavits and handing it over to
Setalvad or her advocate.

Khan said that he used to get fully prepared
affidavits in English on his email from Setalvad which he got
notarised from the concerned witnesses/victims and?handed it
over Setalvad or advocate of CJP.

"Hundreds of affidavits were prepared in this fashion
and submitted in the various courts. Most of the victims and
witnesses were poor and uneducated but still their affidavits
were prepared in English on the pretext that in the High Court
and the Supreme Court, Gujarati is not accepted," he added.

PTI