SIT opposes Zakia’s plea against clean chit to former Gujarat CM

New Delhi, Nov 19 (IANS) The Supreme Court-appointed SIT on Monday opposed the plea of Zakia Ahsan Jafri — the widow of Congress leader Ahsan Jafri — challenging the Gujarat High Court order upholding the clean chit to then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others in the 2002 riots case.

The case pertains to the alleged inaction in the 2002 post-Godhra riots including the attack on Gulberg Housing Society.

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Ahsan Jafri, a Congress leader and a former MP, was killed in the mob violence on Gulberg Society.

Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Special Investigation Team (SIT), told the bench of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Deepak Gupta “it is an issue of facts and for how long it can go on”.

He raised preliminary objections to the petition by Zakia Jafri.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court there were concurrent findings of the subordinate court and the High Court as well rejecting the plea of petitioner Zakia.

Appearing for Zakia, senior counsel Chandra Uday Singh wondered how the SIT come here to oppose the plea.

Objecting both SIT and the Solicitor General Mehta opposing Zakia’s plea, Uday Singh said the petitioner was Zakia Jafri and none of the two who were objecting were even in caveat.

However, since the court had another special bench hearing in the post lunch session and felt the hearing of Jafri’s plea would require some time, it adjourned the hearing directing its listing to Monday (November 26).

Zakia has challenged the October 5, 2017 order of Gujarat High Court upholding the Magistrate court order rejecting her protest petition challenging the SIT report giving clean chit to top political leaders and state functionaries for the alleged larger conspiracy.

The SIT was set up by the top court, and it had come to the conclusion that no case was made out and the same was accepted by the Magistrate and the finding was “erroneously” reiterated by the High Court, says the petition by Zakia.

The petition further says the High Court refused to interfere with the Magistrate’s order “despite large amount of documentation and contemporaneous evidence that existed which made out a triable case against all the accused”.

The petition by Zakia says she in her case had levelled allegations against various bureaucrats, police officers and political leaders for alleged “conspiracy, abetment and hate speech” culminating in the 2002 violence.

She referred to the burning of the S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express on February 27, 2002 resulting in the death of 59 ‘kar sevaks’ at the Godhra railway station.

She said this was “presumed to be communal attack against the Hindus and this culminated into a reprisal against the Muslim community leading to orchestrated violence and targeted killings”.

Zakia says in her petition that “as contemporaneous official data began to be released, including the intelligence collected by the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB), it transpired that the SIB had information about systematic movements of ‘kar sevaks’ and accumulation of arms, which was ignored and facilitated by inaction”.