Criminal Charges against Modi and 59 others

    Verdict expected today.

    Washington DC: A Magistrate’s court in Ahmedabad, India is expected to deliver its verdict on the crucial Zakia Ahsan Jafri Criminal Complaint against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 59 others today. The verdict will determine whether or not Modi and other accused will be charge-sheeted for crimes listed further below.

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    The Indian Judicial system has a four level court hierarchy through which a complaint can be pursued.

    1. Supreme Court
    2. State High Courts
    3. District and Sessions Courts
    4. Magistrate’s Courts

    A complaint is typically pursued initially at the Magistrate court and appealed all the way to the Supreme Court of India.

    The Zakia Ahsan Jafri case is pending judgment in the lowest court of India i.e. the Magistrate Court in Gujarat. Depending on the outcome of the case, either party may appeal the verdict in the Session’s Court in Gujarat and may pursue the appeal further through the Gujarat High Court and the Indian Supreme Court.

    Alternately, as has been successfully argued in the past with many of the cases relating to the 2002 Gujarat pogroms, the petitioner (Zakia Jafri and CJP) may appeal to the Supreme Court to move this case outside of Gujarat.


    The Petitioner had originally appealed to the Supreme Court to move the case out of the state of Gujarat, given the control over the judicial process the accused Modi administration has in the state. Contrary to some prior judgments, the Supreme Court declined this request and in its stead constituted a Special Investigation Team to assist the court with the investigation. It should be noted that Special Investigation Teams are routinely constituted by the Supreme Court to assist lower courts in their investigations.

    Unfortunately, the SIT members in the Zakia Jafri case were jointly named to the Supreme Court by the then Amicus Curie Harish Salve and the Gujarat Counsel while Salve was brokering a large business deal with the Modi Administration. The SIT as recommended by Salve itself comprised of several Gujarat cadre officers, who were subordinate to the accused Chief Minister Modi and his administration. Salve was subsequently

    Several of the SIT officers were either accused in the 2002 violence or were indicted in other criminal cases for compromising the investigations:
    1. Geeta Johri – A Gujarat cadre officer in the SIT, has been accused by the Supreme Court of India of sabotaging the investigation of the ‘fake encounter’ killing of Sohrabuddin [i].
    2. Ashish Bhatia – A Gujarat cadre officer who has been accused of inducting officers into SIT who were involved in the extra-judicial ‘fake encounter’ killing of Ishrat Jahan, an innocent teenage girl shot in cold blood by Gujarat police and later declared to be a dreaded terrorist out to kill Modi. He is also accused of filing incomplete chargesheets in the 2002 violence cases and pressuring the special public prosecutor in the Gulberg case of tilt the prosecution against the eye-witnesses [ii].
    3. YC Modi – member of SIT that led the controversial investigation in the murder of Minister Haren Pandya under the Modi administration. The investigation was criticized for scapegoating Muslim youth while the family of Haren Pandya continue to accuses CM Narendra Modi of being the person who ordered the murder of Pandya. Pandya’s family maintains that he was killed because he testified at the concerned citizen’s tribunal accusing CM Narendra Modi of urging his administration to “Allow Hindus to vent their anger”.


    Judgement awaited on December 26 2013

    The Zakia Jafri (supported by Citizens for Justice & Peace) Criminal Complaint against Narendra Modi and 59 Others was ordered to be investigated by the Supreme Court. Zakia Jafri & CJP have been attempting to get serious criminal charges registered and investigated since 8.6.2006. The Special Investigation team (SIT) originally asked to further investigate Nine Major Trials was assigned the task (27.4.2009). An Amicus Curiae was also appointed to assist the Court. The SIT in its reports from 2010 onwards arrived at the conclusion that while several of the allegations were found to be correct, there was not sufficient material to prosecute the accused.

    In stark contrast, the Amicus Curiae senior advocate Raju Ramachandran looking at the same evidence collected by the SIT, came to a contrary conclusion, stating clearly that there was evidence enough to prosecute Narendra Modi. Faced with this dilemma of two contrary assessments, the Supreme Court remanded the matter to a lower Court directing SIT to file its Final Report there. The SC specifically directed that if the SIT filed a closure report, the Complainants were fully within their legal rights to file a Protest petition and access all Investigation papers/documents. (This is a right under Indian law but was specifically outlined by the Supreme Court in its final judgement dated 12.9.2011).

    Predictably, the SIT filed a closure report on 8.2.2012 and remained adamant against making Investigation papers available to the Complainants in contempt of the Supreme Court order. The Magistrate granted the Complainant her right to the Investigation Papers on 10.4.2012 but it took Zakia Jafri & CJP another year to access all the Investigation reports of the SIT submitted to the Supreme Court. The SC directed this on 7.2.2013 after which the Protest Petition was filed on 15.4.2013.

    From June 24-August 29, 2013 rigorous arguments in support of the Zakia Jafri Protest Petition were made before Judge Ganatra, 11th Metropolitan Magistrate, Ahmedabad.

    A committed band of lawyers including Sanjay Parikh, Mihir Desai and Aparna Bhat argued the matter and submitted detailed Written Arguments on 18.9.2013.
    The Judgement of the Magistrate is now awaited.

    Narendra Modi faces Fifteen Serious Charges of :-

    1. Willfully Ignoring Messages from State Intelligence about the Violent Repercussions of the RSS-VHP called ‘Mahayajna’ before the tragic Godhra incident on 27.2.2002 and deliberately not initiating precautionary measures that are imperative under Standard Operational Procedure; messages from 7.2.2002 to 25.2.2002, including specific ones that stated that batches of 2,800 and 1,900 kar sevaks had left for Faizabad-Ayodhya and had been behaving provocatively and aggressively against minorities on the way. As cabinet minister for home and chief minister, he is directly responsible MOS Home Gordhan Zadaphiya is a constant Co-Conspirator. Co-accused, ACS Home Ashok Narayan has admitted these messages were received by the GOG Home department.
    Evidence:- Official Documents Including over one dozen messages of the State Intelligence Bureau to the political head of the home department, Narendra Modi, other senior bureaucrats named as co-conspirators in the Zakia Jafri Complaint including accused former Director General of Police, K Chakravarthi; Tehelka’s Operation Kalank that was authenticated by the CBI following an Order of the NHRC dated 5.3.2008 also contained direct evidence of collection of arms, ammunition including dynamite by several VHP and RSS men before 27.2.2002. All these messages are part of the SIT Investigation Papers at Annexure III, File XXXIV D-176.

    2. Deliberately concealing knowledge of the provocative, anti-Muslim sloganeering by kar sevaks at the Godhra station when the Sabarmati Express reached five hours late on 27.2.2002, which information had been sent to him directly by DM/Collector Jayanti Ravi and willfully failing to take stern action and allowing violent incidents to escalate after the train left Godhra by about 1.15 p.m. especially at Vadodara station where a Muslim was attacked and killed and at Anand where the train stopped hereafter ensuring that the state allowed a hate-filled and threatening atmosphere against Muslims build right up to Ahmedabad where the train finally reached around 4 p.m. and where bloodthirsty slogans were being shouted. FIRs in 19 brutal incidents against Muslims are recorded on 27.2.2002 in Ahmedabad itself. Curfew was not imposed despite these incidents resulting in deaths breaking out.
    Evidence:- Fax Message Sent by DM Jayanti Ravi and Message of the SIB are available @ .Annexure III, File XLI at Serial Nos 1 and Annexure IV, File IX, Serial Nos 241-in the SIT record.

    3. Conspiring with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to plot and allow reprisal killings all over Gujarat. The first phone call that Modi makes after DM Ravi’s fax reaches him is, not to appeal for peace and calm, but phone secretary VHP, Gujarat, Dr Jaideep Patel and direct him to Godhra. The Conspiracy between Modi and the VHP is hatched and unfurled to cynically ensure state-wide reprisal killings. Phone call records show these phone calls between PA to Modi AP Patel and Jaideep Patel immediately after the chief minister receives news of the Godhra tragedy. Phone call records made available by Rahul Sharma (IPS, Gujarat) also show that Powerful Accused were in touch with the chief minister’s office (CMO) and the landline numbers of the chief minister.
    Evidence:- Page 5-6, Annexure Volume IV to Protest Petition contains AP Patel’s Phone Records and atAnnexure IV, File V and VI in SIT Papers; Conspicuously, the SIT records statements of all officials of the chief minister’s office (CMO) following CJP’s submission of the phone records to the Supreme Court but does not record A.P. Patel’s.

    4. Brazenly supporting the Bandh call called by the VHP and allowing the streets and public spaces of Gujarat to be used for mass attacks and violence. By 12 noon on 27.2.2002, state intelligence and the police were aware of the Bandh call; Yet deliberately no preventive steps were taken; the bandh was uses by the police machinery to clear the streets of ordinary citizens so that aggressive mobs could target minority populations and their establishments.The first message directing preventive measures that comes from the GOG home department against Modi is past 10 p.m. on 28.2.2002 when over 200 persons have been massacred in broad daylight in Ahmedabad alone. Only two Preventive Arrests in Ahmedabad on 27.2.2002 that two of persons belonging to the Minority Community despite the fact that over 2 dozen attacks had taken place on Muslims all over the state on 27.2.2002 itself. Only two Preventive Arrests in Ahmedabad on 27.2.2002 reveal that of the two of persons arrested on 27.2.2002 from Astodia, both belonged to the Minority Community. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) commented on the state’s dubious response vis a vis preventive measures in general and preventive arrests in particular.
    Evidence:- Message from the State Intelligence warming of the serious implications of the VHP bandh is available @ (Annexure IV, File XX, Serial Nos 374, Page Nos 8289 I the SIT Papers/ Record and the message from the GOG home department sent out at 10.15 p.m. on 28.2.2002 is available @ Annexure III, File XLI, Sr Nos 15 SIT Papers/Records; Statistics of Preventive Statistics of Preventive Arrests are available @ Annexure III, File I, D-2, Pages 254-255, SIT Record/Papers).

    5. Cynically and illegally allowed Post Mortems out in the open at the Railway Yard, Godhra where the burnt and mutilated corpses were laid in full view of an aggressive and irate crowd of RSS and VHP men and women, who were gathered there in violation of Curfew Orders @ Godhra. Deliberately allowing photographs of the burnt corpses to be taken and widely circulated by the RSS-VHP and media in general, despite it being prevented under law; Modi dispatching Accused Nos 2-Ashok Bhatt to oversee illegally conducted post-mortems; Modi was himself present when these post-mortems were conducted out in the open @ the railway yard in front of a mob of RSS and VHP men;
    Evidence:- Phone call records between Modi and Bhatt, former health minister (since deceased) are evidence of how the latter was dispatched to Godhra; the Godhra Sessions Court judgement 69/2009/ 86/2006. 204/2009 @ Page 105; This was handed over to the Court on 29.8.2012 comments on the illegality of the post mortems and also has a vivid photograph showing the bodies lying in the open in the Railway Yard at Godhra; Section 223, 4(vi), Volume III Gujarat Police Manual lays down specific legalities to be followed for post mortems that specifically direct no photographs of gory bodies being allowed.

    6. Personally instigating individual RSS-VHP men and women at the railway yard at Godhra assuring them that enough time will be allowed by the Modi-led government and administration to extract a revenge for Godhra.
    Evidence:- Excerpts of the authenticated Tehelka Transcripts of Ramesh Dave, Rajendra Vyas of the VHP Haresh Bhatt of the BJP and Bajrang Dal. Anil Patel of the VHP, Dhimant Bhatt of the RSS,, Dhawal Patel and Arvind Pandya from the Tehelka Transcripts available @ Annexure III, File XIII, D-129 in SIT Records and statements available at Annexure I Volume I and II of the SIT record.

    7. Directing that the unidentified bodies of Godhra train victims should be handed over to Jaideep Patel, a non-governmental person, that too belonging to a supremacist and communal VHP to be brought to Ahmedabad where aggressive funeral processions in full public view were allowed. Modi directed this at a meeting at the Collectorate in the evening of 27.2.2002 before he returned to Gandhinagar. Jaideep Patel was allowed to be present at an official meeting at the Collectorate. Jaideep Patel is a co-conspirator and also facing trial for mass crimes in the ongoing Naroda Gaam case. Modi is specifically guilty of allowing the escalation of violence from Godhra to other parts of Gujarat and taking decisions contrary to law.
    Evidence:- DM Jayanti Ravi’s statement to the SIT dated 15.9.2009 @ Annexure I Volume I, Sr Nos 19 in the SIT record, clearly states Jaideep Patel was present at the meeting at the Collectorate though Modi and Jaideep Patel, both denied it.

    8. Specifically instructing his top policemen and administrators not to act evenhandedly in the days to follow and “allow Hindus to vent their anger.” Two senior bureaucrats present at the meeting have stated that cabinet ministers were present at a meeting that went on well past midnight. Haren Pandya, a minister in Modi’s cabinet in 2002 had given evidence of this to the Concerned Citizen’s Tribunal headed by Justice Krishna Iyer and PB Sawant in 2002 itself. Later in 2009 a serving officer from the state intelligence, Sanjiv Bhatt also gave the same evidence before the SIT and the Supreme Court.
    Evidence:- (i) Statement of Haren Pandya to the CCT dated 13.5.2002 @ Internal Page 82 Volume II of the Concerned Citizens Tribunal Report in section on State Complicity @ Annexure III, File, I, D-2, D-3, D-4 of the SIT Record/Papers.; (ii) On 27.10.2005, in the Fourth Affidavit, R.B. Sreekumar before the Nanavati Commission dated 27.10.2005 stated that K. Chakravarthi, DGP Gujarat (A-25) had given information of the same words being uttered by A-1 Modi at the meeting on 27.2.2002 ; (iii) On 11.07.09 Statement of Shri R.B. Sreekumar, formerly Addl.DG (Int.), Gujarat to the SIT (Annex I, Vol I Sr. No.5, SIT Papers/Record) where he confirmed this; (iv)On 12.08.2009,Statement of Shri Vitthalbhai Pandya, father of Late Haren Pandya, R/o, Paldi, Ahmedabad (Annex I, Vol I Sr. No.12, SIT Papers/Record) where he stated that his son Haren Pandya had told him about attending the meeting at the residence of A-1 on 27.2.2002 in the late evening as also of the provocative instructions given by A-1; (v) On 28.8. 2009, Justices P.B. Sawant and Justice Hosbet Suresh gave two separate statements. Both eminent Judges, retired Supreme Court and High Court respectively, also stated that three serving IPS officers, Sami Ullah Ansari, Himanshu Bhatt and Vinod Mall also deposed before them in person requesting anonymity but confirming that such illegal instructions were issued.(Annexure I Volume I Sr.Nos 16 & 17 of the SIT Record/Papers); (vi) On 30.10.2004,Mr. Rahul Sharma stated in his deposition on oath before the Nanavati Commission that when he spoke to his superior officer DGP, Gujarat, A-25 Chakravathi on 1.3.2002 at about 10:22 p.m. to request to make more force available for him at Bhavnagar, the DGP told Mr. K Chakravarti also told him that “the bureaucracy had been completely neutralised”.

    Amicus Curiae Raju Ramachandran has clearly stated in his Interim and Final reports before the Supreme Court (20.1.2011 & 25.7.2011) that Evidence regarding the unlawful and incendiary words spoken at the meeting of 27.2.2002 should be tested in a trial.

    9. Preventing the Imposition of Curfew. Curfew was deliberately not imposed at Ahmedabad while over 3,000 RSS workers were allowed to gather at the Sola Civil Hospital where Jaideep Patel arrived with the bodies of the Godhra victims at about 4 a.m.The crowd was aggressive and violent as proved from the police control room records. No steps were taken to disperse the crowd that attacked the hospital staff and doctors, a High Court judge, Violent funeral processions were allowed to wind through the streets of Ahmedabad for several hours at two locations; worst Acharya Giriraj Kishore was given police escort to come and further provoke the aggressive mob; the cremations took place only in the evening and attacks on Naroda Patiya, Naroda Gaam and Gulberg Society where over 200 persons were massacred (and rapes allowed) in broad daylight on the same day, 28.2.2002, while violent and aggressive funeral processions were willfully allowed by Modi and the police and administration.
    Evidence:- Messages from the Police Control Room records that were first denied to SIT but thereafter produced in a CD by former Commissioner of Police, PC Pande, after the Supreme Court ordered further investigation on 15.3.2011 show a slew of such messages:- Page No. 5794, 5796-97 & 5826, Annexure IV, File XIV of the SIT record.

    10. Making a pretence of verbally calling in the Army on the late evening of 28.2.2002 but not actually allowing its deployment in Ahmedabad, Godhra and Bhavnagar and Varodara until 2.3.2002 and 3.3.2002. Worse badly affected districts like Mehsana, Panchmahals, Dahod, Anand, Kheda were not given an Army or Paramilitary at all.
    Evidence:- Documents related to the Correspondence of the GOG Home department available in the SIT Papers.

    11. Fourteen out of Gujarat’s 25 districts were allowed to burn as Ministers were specifically deployed by Modi to interfere with Police functioning and sit in the State Control Room and Ahmedabad City Control Room; in Eleven Districts where Violence was controlled, the Police Officers in Charge were given Punitive Transfers to send a Political Message. Modi heads the Home department that bends the Police Bureaucracy and Police to his will.

    12. Modi allowed violence to continue unabated until early May 2002 when KPS Gill was sent by PM Vajpayee to the state; the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), April and July 2002 and Central Election Commission (CEC) were misled about the spread and intensity of violence. This was willful subversion of the justice system. The Subversion of the Home Department under A-1 in which co-accused, Gordhan Zadaphiya, MOS Home, A-5, Ashok Narayan, ACS Home, A-28, and K Nityanandam, Secretary, Home, A-34 played an active part included deliberately misinforming the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of India about the extent and spread of violence:- Correspondence exists to reveal how senior VHP and RSS men were being kept out of the FIRs and charge sheets related to serious massacres being filed by the Ahmedabad Crime Branch; how violence was recurrent and was being allowed with even ministers like Bharat Barot directly involved.
    Evidence:- the NHRC and CEC Reports as also the correspondence between the NHRC and chief secretary Subha Rao, also an accused (Accused Nos- 27) are clear testimony of this subversion; ACS Home Ashok Narayan’s letters to DGP available in SIT record show the subversion in keeping names out of FIRs etc.

    13. Partisan prosecutors belonging to the RSS-VHP were appointed to ensure that cases were killed in their infancy; bail was easily granted to powerful accused until the Supreme Court stepped in, in 2003 and 2004. Two trials, the Best Bakery trial and the Bilkees Bano cases were transferred out of the state.
    Evidence:- Judgements of the Supreme Court on 12.4.2004 and 1.5.2009.

    14. Hate Speech was indulged in by Modi himself, on 27.2.2002 and right until the infamous Becharaji speech made top set off his election campaign on 9.9.2002 and also cynically permitted by the Home Department under him to spread poison and incite violence against Muslims and Christians. The State Intelligence under ADGP-Int RB Sreekumar had specifically recommended prosecution of the VHP for a series of incendiary pamphlets but this was ignored. SP Bhavnagar, Rahul Sharma too had recommended the prosecution of Sandesh, the Gujarati mainstream newspaper for publishing false and provocative photographs and reports. Both the NHRC and Editor’s Guild had also strongly recommended prosecution of those guilty of hate speech. Modi had, instead sent congratulatory letters to those newspapers who had spread lies and venom. RB Sreekumar, Rahul Sharma and Sanjiv Bhatt are among the officers persecuted by the Gujarat government under Modi (home minister).
    Evidence:- Modi’s speech and its transcript is clearly communal; Gujarat’s Intelligence department responding to the National Commission for the Minorities (9.9.2002) clearly assessed the deleterious impact of the speech ; Official letters of then ADGP Sreekumar dated 16.4.2002, then SP Bhavnagar, Rahul Sharma and then CP Vadodara all strongly recommending prosecution of VHP’s hate pamphlets and the Sandesh newspaper -all part of the SIT record–were ignored by the political head of the GOG Home department, Modi.Ashok Narayan’s statement to SIT dated 13.12.2009 available in the SITRecord @ Annexure I Volume I states that Modi was extremely dismissive of these repeated requests for prosecution.

    15. Modi is guilty of ordering the Destruction of Crucial documents including Wireless Intercepted Messages, Vehicle logs, Police Control Room records and others on 30.3.2008, four days after the Supreme Court appoints the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on 26.3.2008. He has headed the Home ministry portfolio since that date.
    Evidence:- Pages 70-77 of the Compilation that consists of documents from the SIT Record; Annexure IV, File I Sr Nos 23.

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