SIT questioning a difficult moment, says Modi



SIT questioning a difficult moment, says Modi Ahmedabad: Chief Minister Narendra Modi has described his marathon grilling by the Supreme Court-appointed SIT in a Gujarat riots case as a difficult moment of his life and thanked the people of the state for standing by him.

"I have cooperated with the process of law and accepted its supremacy. I heartily express my thankfulness to the people for their support and prayers in this difficult moment," Modi wrote on his blog.

The Gujarat chief minister expressed his views on his blog two days after he was grilled for over nine hours for his alleged role in the controversial Gulberg Society massacre where 69 people including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri were torched to death.

Earlier, Modi had also claimed that his quizzing, the first since the communal violence eight years ago, has concluded.

"I have been told by SIT that your work is over", 59-year-old Modi said at 0100 hours emerging from the second round of his questioning at the SIT office at the old secretariat building.

Modi claimed he had answered all questions put by the SIT and that he had recalled to the extent possible the sequence of events that had taken place eight years ago.

The Chief Minister said his statement was recorded by the SIT investigators after which he signed it.

Asked what sort of questions he was asked, Modi said, "I cannot share that with you because the SIT has to submit its report to the Supreme Court."

Though there was no official word on the questioning, Modi is said to have replied to 62 of the 68 questions put to him in the five-hour-long first session that had begun at noon yesterday.

Modi returned to the SIT office at 9 PM and faced a second round of questioning for four hours as he was keen that the entire exercise be completed in one day.

The controversial BJP leader is facing allegations of omission and commission with regard to the mob attack on a housing society in which a former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri and 68 others were killed. He was questioned by a team of officers headed by AK Malhotra, a former CBI DIG.

When pointed out that he had been in the dock for the last eight years over the riots, a smiling Modi said, "You have still kept me in the dock."

"Vistaar se batcheet ki (we spoke in detail)," he said, adding, "Under the Indian Constitution, the law is supreme. As a common man, CM, I am bound by the Indian Constitution and the law. No one can be above the law."

SIT Chief R K Raghavan was not present in his office when Modi appeared in the first session in response to the panel's summons.

Taking a dig at his critics, he said, "God give good sense to those who said I have not spoken for eight years.

"I hope that today's happening will give good sense to those who are keen to spread misinformation and those who spread lies", the Chief Minister said.

Asked if the questions put to him related to Gulburg Society riot case, Modi said, "Questions ranged from February 27 (2002) till the elections".

On number of questions asked by SIT, he said, "I have not counted them".

Asked if he was satisfied with the SIT investigations, Modi said, "The Supreme Court has to be satisfied."

The Chief Minister repeatedly said the SIT was appointed by the apex court and it did not have a single officer from Gujarat.

"I have fulfilled my words given to the people of the country. Nobody is above the Indian Constitution and the law", he said.

Modi said, "We should create a conducive atmosphere to work within the ambit of law, so that law can take its own course".

Modi has become the first chief minister of any state to be questioned in connection with a criminal complaint of mass murder after he and his administration were accused of aiding and abetting riots in one area in Ahmedabad in 2002. He was summoned for questioning following a complaint of Zakia Jafry, widow of Eshan Jafry.

The complaint filed by Zakia, among other things, alleged there was a wider conspiracy by Modi and his administration and that he had instructed officers not to take action.

"My appearance here is a "karara jawab" (fitting reply) to my detractors. I have given a resounding reply to those who doubted my intentions. I hope such talks by vested interests will stop," Modi said.

PTI