2002 Gujarat riots: SC defers plea against SIT clean chit to PM Modi till January third week

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned a plea filed by Zakia Jafri challenging the report of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) which gave a clean chit to PM Narendra Modi in the 2002 Gujarat riots case. Petitioners have asked for time to file convenience volumes consisting direct evidence to establish a conspiracy. The matter will now be heard in the third week of January.

Modi was cleared of complicity in the violence by a Supreme Court-appointed SIT which had questioned him for over 9 hours in the post-Godhra Gulberg society massacre case.

Zakia, the wife of Ehsan Jafri, an ex-MP who was killed in one of the worst incidents during the riots, has challenged the Gujarat High Court’s October 5, 2017 order rejecting her plea against the SIT’s decision. The petition was earlier filed in the Gujarat High Court but after it was rejected there, the petitioners challenged the HCdecision in the apex court.

A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Hemant Gupta posted the matter for hearing in the third week of January.

During a previous hearing, Jafri’s counsel had said that notice needs to be issued in the plea as it pertains to the aspect of alleged “larger conspiracy” during the period from February 27, 2002 and May 2002 and had also maintained that after the SIT gave a clean chit in its closure report in the case before a trial judge, a protest was filed by the petitioner which was dismissed by the magistrate without considering “substantiated merits”.

On February 8, 2012, the SIT filed a closure report, giving the clean chit to Modi and 63 others, including senior government officials, saying there was “no prosecutable evidence” against them.

The plea had further said the high court “failed to appreciate” the petitioner’s complaint which was independent of the Gulberg case registered at Meghaninagar Police Station.

Zakia had sought an interim order to the SIT to carry out further investigation with regard to her complaint and the evidence provided by her before the magistrate through the protest petition. The high court in its October 5, 2017, order had said that the SIT probe was monitored by the Supreme Court but had partly allowed Zakia’s petition as far as its demand of a further investigation was concerned.

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