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No material in Zakia Jafri's complaint to take it forward: SIT tells SC

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
November 10, 2021 21:45 IST
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The Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that Zakia Jafri's complaint alleging larger conspiracy in the 2002 Gujarat riots was thoroughly examined after which it came to the conclusion that there was no material to take it forward.

IMAGE: Zakia Jafri. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for the SIT which had probed several cases of the 2002 riots, told a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar that Zakia Jafri's complaint was examined 'threadbare' and statements were recorded.

Zakia Jafri, the wife of slain Congress leader Ehsan Jafri who was killed at Gulberg society in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002 during the violence, has challenged the SIT's clean chit to 64 persons including Narendra Modi, the then Gujarat chief minister during the 2002 riots in the state.

 

"Her compliant was taken up for examination and statements were recorded. Her complaint was thoroughly investigated. SIT came to a conclusion that apart from the charge sheets already filed, there was no material to take forward her complaint of 2006," Rohatgi told the bench, also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and C T Ravikumar.

He further stated that the top court had said in 2011 that all aspects of her complaint be examined by the SIT.

Rohatgi said there were nine major FIRs in the riots cases and the SIT came in 2008-2009 and took up these cases and subsequently, filed charge sheets as well as supplementary charge sheets.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Zakia Jafri, said she had made a complaint in 2006 which talked about larger conspiracy and the SIT had not done any investigation on the issues raised by her.

"The question is, has the SIT followed the procedure established by the law in dealing with the evidence which was before the SIT and which they completely disregarded and never investigated," Sibal told the bench during the arguments which would continue on Thursday.

The bench observed that the 2011 judgement of the top court takes note of Zakia Jafri's complaint but there was no direction to register it as a separate case or a separate FIR.

Sibal said the top court had asked the SIT to look into the complaint and the team later filed a closure report before the magistrate court which accepted it.

Rohatgi told the bench that when the SIT was examining the complaint, it was not an FIR and the team recorded statements of several people in the matter.

"Investigation was done thoroughly as per the Supreme Court order. There was no order to register an FIR," he said.

During the arguments, Sibal said that the SIT called the persons and accepted their statements whatever they said.

"No phones were seized. They (SIT) never examined witnesses, never examined CDRs (call detail records), never arrested persons... They accepted what these people said," Sibal said, adding, "The fact of the matter is that there has to be an investigation."

He said the 'most damaging' evidence, a sting operation which was used in another case in which accused were convicted, was not looked at while examining the complaint.

Sibal, who referred to the alleged inaction by the concerned authorities during the violence, said one cannot allow communal tension to reach such a stage where violence occurs and innocent people are attacked.

Ehsan Jafri, the former MP, was among the 68 people killed in the violence, a day after the S-6 Coach of the Sabarmati Express was burnt at Godhra killing 59 people and triggering riots in Gujarat.

On October 26, the apex court had said it would like to peruse the closure report of the SIT giving the clean chit to 64 persons and the justification given by the magisterial court while accepting it.

Sibal had earlier argued that Zakia Jafri's complaint was that there was 'a larger conspiracy where there was bureaucratic inaction, police complicity, hate speeches and unleashing of violence'.

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

Zakia Jafri had filed a petition in the apex court in 2018 challenging the Gujarat high court's October 5, 2017 order rejecting her plea against the SIT decision.

The plea also maintained that after the SIT gave a clean chit in its closure report before a trial judge, Zakia Jafri filed a protest petition which was dismissed by the magistrate without considering 'substantiated merits'.

It also said the high court 'failed to appreciate' the petitioner's complaint which was independent of the Gulberg Society case registered at a Police Station in Ahmedabad.

The high court in its October 2017 order had said the SIT probe was monitored by the Supreme Court.

However, it partly allowed Zakia Jafri's petition as far as its demand for a further investigation was concerned.

It had said the petitioner can approach an appropriate forum, including the magistrate's court, a division bench of the high court, or the Supreme Court seeking further investigation.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2022 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
 
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