2002 Gulberg riots case: Gujarat HC turns down Zakia Jafri’s plea versus SIT’s tidy chit to Narendra Modi

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court today turned down Zakia Jafri’s plea challenging a lower court order maintaining the SIT’s clean chit to the then chief minister Narendra Modi and others on the accusation of a larger conspiracy behind the 2002 post-Godhra riots.Jafri’s kid,

however, called the ruling as a triumph, as the court allowed the petitioners to approach an appropriate forum to look for reinvestigation.Justice Sonia Gokani declined Jafri’s contention that Modi, some senior authorities officers and bureaucrats were party to a larger conspiracy. The issue was currently gone over by the Supreme Court in its 2015 order on a petition of former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, said the judge.The peak court thought about the contentions concerning the larger conspiracy and dismissed them, the high court said.Also, the probe carried out by the Special Examination Team was

kept track of by the Supreme Court, Justice Gokani said.The high court, however, partially allowed Jafri’s petition as far as its need of a further investigation was concerned.The lower court(city magistrate )had”self-limited”itself by saying that it had actually restricted powers with regard to

ordering more investigation, it said.The petitioner can approach an appropriate forum consisting of the magistrate’s court, a division bench of the high court or the Supreme Court looking for further examination, the high court said. Zakia Jafri, the other half of slain previous MP and Congress leader Ehsan Jafri, and activist Teesta Setalvad’s NGO Citizen for Justice and Peace had actually filed a criminal review petition against the magistrate’s order maintaining the tidy chit provided by the SIT to Modi and others.The petition demanded that Modi and 59 others– consisting of senior cops officers and bureaucrats– be made accused for presumably being part of a conspiracy which helped with the riots. It had actually also looked for the high court’s direction for fresh examination into the matter.Ehsan Jafri was among 68 individuals killed at the Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad when a mob assaulted it on February 28, 2002, a day after the Godhra train burning incident which triggered riots in the state.In December 2013, the magistrate’s court rejected Zakia Jafri’s plea looking for a case against Modi and others for criminal conspiracy, after which she moved the high court in 2014. The SIT had, on February 8, 2012, filed a closure report and offered tidy chit to Modi and others in the case.

In the high court, the SIT lawyer sent that its probe was performed under the Supreme Court’s watchful eye, and its report was largely accepted by all.The lower court looked

into all elements of claims to conclude that there was no further need to investigate the matter from the angle of larger conspiracy, the SIT argued.Zakia Jafri’s legal representative Mihir Desai argued that the magistrate, while accepting the SIT’s closure report, did not even consider other alternatives such as declining the report or ordering a fresh probe.The lower court disregarded the Supreme Court’s guidelines and did not think about the signed statements of witnesses which had actually suggested that there was a conspiracy, he argued.Reacting to today’s judgment, Zakia Jafri’s kid Tanvir Jafri termed it a triumph, stating that high court had actually permitted the petitioners to approach the lower court or other suitable online forum to look for reinvestigation.”My mom sees this verdict as a triumph, as the high court today made it clear that the lower court was incorrect when it stated that it does not

have the power to ask the SIT to examine the matter even more. Hence we are pleased since my mom’s plea was partially permitted,”Tanvir Jafri told PTI.”We will consult our attorneys about the future course of action, as the high court has actually provided us

the option to approach the same magisterial court or the special SIT court which heard the Gulberg society riot case, “he said.Setalvad refused to talk about the ruling.


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