Zakia Jafri, the widow of former Congress MP Ahsan Jafri, who was killed in the 2002 Gulberg Society massacre, moved to Gujarat High Court challenging a magisterial court order that upheld the clean chit given to Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 59 others by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) on their alleged complicity in the 2002 riots. The petition is expected to come up for hearing before the HC on March 20.
In her petition before the magisterial court of Ahmedabad Metropolitan Court, Jafri had sought to arraign Modi and 59 others under the charges of criminal conspiracy, abetment to commit mass murder, arson and rape and also for tampering with evidence and destroying valuable records of the Home Department.
Social activist Teesta Setalvad, who is assisting Jafri in the matter, said that the petition which runs into around 540 pages was filed last week. In a press release, Setalvad said that the petition has laid out substantive grounds for rejection of the order of the Ahmedabad Metropolitan Court.
On December 26 last year, the court of Magistrate B J Ganatra had dismissed Jafri’s protest petition against the SIT report which gave clean chit to Modi and others who were sought to be arraigned as accused.
In a petition, the petitioner has stated that while giving clean chit to Modi and others, the magistrate had gone to the extent of not treating the statements of Suresh Mehta, Haren Pandya, Justice (retired) P B Sawant and Justice (retired) Hosbet Suresh as statements under section 161 of CrPC related to the alleged controversial meeting called by Modi on February 27, 2002. In the alleged meeting, Modi had allegedly given instructions to the police to let the Hindus vent their anger against Muslims.
Giving the grounds laid in the petition related to the alleged meeting of February 27, 2002, the release further stated that the magistrate, “…failed to appreciate the true significance of the statement made by Haren Pandya before the Concerned Citizens Tribunal before retired judges of the High Court and the SC. The Learned Magistrate also failed to appreciate the statements given to the SIT in this connection by two retired judges: one of the Supreme Court and another of the HC. The Learned Magistrate failed to draw obvious conclusions as to the reasons behind why, at such a crucial law and order meeting after the tragedy of the kind that had taken place in Godhra, no minutes were maintained of the Proceedings as is Standard Operational Procedure (under the Gujarat Police Manual) and accepted practice.”