New Delhi: In what is being termed as a victory for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the Supreme Court on Monday refused to pass order on alleged inaction of the CM during 2002 riots and referred the matter to the magistrate concerned in Ahmedabad.
Delivering its verdict on the petition filed by Zakia Nazim Jafri, wife of Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who was killed with 37 others in Gulberg society by a rampaging mob which set the neighbourhood on fire on February 28, 2002, the apex court bench said that the monitoring of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the riots case by it was over.
“No further monitoring of 2002 Gujarat riots cases is
required by it” the bench of Justices DK Jain, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam said, while referring the SIT report to the trial court.
The court also observed that it is for the trial court magistrate to decide on the role of Narendra Modi and others in the case.
“It is for the magistrate to decide whether to proceed
against Modi and 63 others in the riots cases,” the bench said.
Besides the SIT report, the observations made by amicus curiae and the complainants plea would be placed before the trial court.
Importantly, the SC asked the trial court magistrate to hear Zakia Jafri`s plea if he decides to close the case against Modi and others.
The Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), headed by the former CBI director RK Raghavan, had submitted a report to the court in May 2010 after examining Modi and others.
However, the Supreme Court had found that conclusions drawn by Raghavan were inconsistent with findings of the SIT probe and sought the comments of amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran to suggest a course of action.
As per reports, Ramachandran has disagreed with certain conclusions in the SIT report and gave some suggestions to the bench.
In her complaint, Zakia Jafri had named Modi and 62 others and alleged that they orchestrated the post-Godhra riots in connivance with senior police officials and bureaucrats.
It has been alleged that there was a conspiracy involving Modi and others post the Godhra train burning incident to provoke communal violence in the state and that they had conspired to render police force inactive so as to aid violent mobs.
Reacting to the SC ruling, Zakia Zafri said that she is disappointed with the verdict. Teesta Setalvad said that the case is not yet over and will be fought in the trial court.
The BJP, expectedly, welcomed the SC verdict. “It is a welcome verdict as it comes despite a massive smear campaign against the BJP and the Chief Minister,” party leader Balbir Punj said.
Modi will make a statement later today.
From Congress, party leader Rashid Alvi said, “I am not disappointed, the Supreme Court has not given a clean chit to Narendra Modi. The SC has referred the case to the lower court and we will wait for the verdict.”
Alvi however, accepted that the SC verdict will delay the case further, while adding: “Narendra Modi…his character is known to the entire country.”