Court to decide on Jafri s petition against clean chit to Modi
BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s march to Delhi faces a big test on Thursday when a court in Ahmedabad will pronounce its order on Zakia Jafri’s petition against the closure report of Special Investigation Team (SIT) which gave a clean chit to the Gujarat Chief Minister in connection with the 2002 post-Godhra riots case.
Zakia Jafri is the wife of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who was among 69 people killed in the Gulberg Society massacre in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002.
In her petition, Jafri contends that Gulberg massacre was cold-blooded conspiracy by Modi and others to facilitate state-wide communal violence. She claims her husband made frantic calls to the police and even to Narendra Modi, who refused to send help.
The Supreme Court had appointed the SIT to probe Jafri’s allegations. SIT chief RK Raghavan filed a final report on February 8, 2012, which said there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prosecute Modi . Besides Modi, 58 others were given a clean chit by the SIT.
After Jafri approached the court against the report, the SIT strongly defended its investigations and termed the protest petition a ‘piece of fiction’.
Raghavan said he is ready for the report “to be scrutinized by anyone” and stressed that the court would finally decide whether Modi should be tried.
Importantly, senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, appointed by the Supreme Court to investigate allegations of Narendra Modi’s complicity in the Gujarat riots, said that there appears to be enough grounds for offences to be made out against the chief minister.
Ramachandran in his report submitted to the Supreme Court said that, prima facie, Narendra Modi can be booked under sections that relate to “promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and acts prejudicial to (the) maintenance of harmony”.
SIT counsel R S Jamuar argued before the court that no direct or circumstantial evidence supporting Jafri’s allegations was found.
The court of Magistrate BJ Ganatra was first scheduled to deliver the order on October 28, but later deferred it to December 2, and then to December 26. Arguments got over in September 2013.
Over a thousand people were killed in 2002 Gujarat riots.