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Zakia moves HC against SIT clean chit to Modi in riots case

March 18, 2014 18:39 IST

Zakia Jafri, widow of former Congress Member of Parliament Ehsan Jafri, on Tuesday approached the Gujarat high court challenging the Ahmedabad metropolitan court order upholding SIT's clean chit to Gujarat Chief minister Narendra Modi and others in connection with the 2002 riots case.

"We have challenged the metropolitan court's order which validates clean chit to Modi," social activist Teesta Setalwad told PTI. The petition filed before the high court demands to make Narendra Modi and 59 others accused on the charges of criminal conspiracy behind the riots.

"The metropolitan judge has simply accepted the contentions in the closure report of the Special Investigating Team without considering substantive arguments of the applicant (Zakia)," the petition reads.

On December 26 last year, metropolitan magistrate B J Ganatra had rejected Zakia Jafri's protest petition challenging the SIT clean chit to Modi. On February 8, 2012, the Supreme Court-appointed SIT had filed a closure report and given a clean chit to Modi and others.

"The SIT has not conducted free and fair investigation against the accused no 1 (Modi)," the petitioner alleged. The high court is likely to conduct the hearing on Zakia's petition on March 20. On 28 February, 2002, following the Godhra train carnage, 68 people, including Jafri, were killed by a mob at Gulbarg Society here during the riots.

"Make Modi and 59 others accused in charges of criminal conspiracy to commit mass murder, arson, rape and also tampering with evidence and destroying valuable records of the Gujarat home department," the petition demands.

Zakia prayed for the rejection of magisterial court's order which validates SIT's closure report. "The metropolitan magistrate committed a fundamental error by not dealing with the substantive arguments laid down by Zakia Jafri in written and oral submissions," the petition, which runs into about 540 pages, stated. It also alleged that the judge has simply accepted the contentions in the closure report with "non-application of mind".

"The judge has not established the involvement of accused no. 1 (Modi) by not considering the phone call contacts between him and co-conspirators," it says. "He (Modi) had failed to take preventive measures and instead supported a bandh, allow post-mortems of gruesome burned bodies in the open and allow the streets of cities and villages to be taken over by rampaging mobs.

"Illegal instructions were issued to high level policemen and bureaucrats, at a controversial meeting held on February 27, 2002 night, not to follow the law the next day (February 28)," it said.

The petition has also alleged that the destruction of key records was carried out to ensure injustice to the victims in which chief minister's office and home department were allegedly involved. The petition alleged that the metropolitan court did not consider those facts as well as the statements of the key witnesses. "Statements of former CM Suresh Mehta, slain state home minister Haren Pandya, Justice Sawant and Justice Suresh under 161 CrPC related to the controversial meeting on February 27, 2002, were brushed aside by the judge," it said.

It has been stated that on February 27, there was a meeting called by Modi, where he had allegedly told to go soft on the Hindu mob, the petition said.

"The judge evaluated the statements and set them aside, while the apex court had ruled that a trial court cannot evaluate the statements taken during the investigation until there are some judicial errors," the petition mentioned.

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