Gandhinagar/New Delhi: RK Raghavan, the chief of the apex-court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) that quizzed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi over the 2002 riots, said the questioning was a "very big step forward" and the panel was likely to submit its report within the deadline of April 30.
Raghavan expressed his satisfaction with the work done by his team and the questioning of Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
"Definitely, it (the questioning of Modi) was a very big step forward in unravelling few of the mysteries in the matter," Raghavan told CNN-IBN television channel.
He asserted that Zakia Jaffri`s petition was the basis for questioning Modi.
"I don`t want to go into details, but broadly speaking, the petition filed by Mrs Zakia Jaffri, wife of former Congress MP Ehsan Jaffri who was among those killed at the Gulberg society massacre in Ahmedabad, which was given to us by the Supreme Court is our `holy bible`," he said.
Raghavan, a former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director, told NDTV channel that it took 10 hours to grill Modi, as a lot of procedures had to be followed. "As he speaks, it has to be put into writing. Accurate reproduction of what he says has to be done, and it is then signed by him," he said.
Incidentally, the SIT chief was not on the premises when the questioning was going on. "(AK) Malhotra is the investigating officer. He is competent. I cannot breathe down his neck. This is CBI practice," he said.
"As the head of the SIT, it is my job to monitor the progress of investigations which I am doing. I am not supposed to sit in on questioning."
"AK Malhotra has questioned Modi and he will now file his report," he said.
According to the SIT chief, they will now examine the evidence, prepare the report and hopefully submit it to the Supreme Court by the deadline set for it.
"We will appreciate the evidence before us and will only then be able to say whether we will need to summon the Chief Minister again," he said in reply to a question whether Modi will be summoned for questioning.
Raghavan declined to comment on whether a FIR was likely to be filed in the case."Our job is to present our findings before the Supreme Court and then await its directions," he added.
Modi was questioned for nearly 10 hours Saturday in Gandhinagar by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on a complaint by Zakia Jaffri, who alleged that the chief minister was party to the 2002 violence that swept Gujarat following a train burning in Godhra that killed 59 people.