The Gujarat High Court has concluded hearing a petition filed by Zakia Jafri, widow of slain former MP Ehsan Jafri, challenging a clean chit to Narendra Modi, the then Chief Minister, and others in 2002 riots cases. Justice Sonia Gokani on Saturday concluded the hearing while allowing filing of a written submission by Jafri’s lawyer Mihir Desai on June 19 and a reply by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team on July 3, before pronouncing the judgement.
Zakia had moved the HC against a closure report filed by SIT on the issue of larger criminal conspiracy involving Modi and others behind 2002 riots cases. Her husband Ehsan Jafri was one of the victims of the riots as a mob had set their house in city’s Gulberg Society on fire.
Senior counsel representing SIT C S Vaidyanathan said in his concluding argument that the SIT report challenged by Jafri was based on investigation conducted under the watchful eyes of the apex court and was largely accepted by all.
He said the lower court had looked into all aspects of allegations to conclude that there was no further need to investigate the matter from larger conspiracy angle. Desai said the magistrate who accepted the SIT’s closure report did not even think of other options like rejecting the report, or order fresh probe.
The criminal review petition by Zakia and NGO Citizen for Justice and Peace, run by activist Teesta Setalvad, has demanded making Modi and 59 others as accused on charges of criminal conspiracy behind the riots.
Zakia also prayed for the rejection of the closure report of the Supreme Court appointed SIT giving clean chit to Modi and others. In December 2013, a metropolitan court had rejected Jafri’s plea to book Modi and others for criminal conspiracy, after which she moved the HC in 2014.
SIT had on February 8, 2012 filed a closure report giving a clean chit to Modi and others in the case. On 28 February, 2002, following the Godhra train carnage, 68 people, including Ehsan Jafri, were killed by a mob at Gulberg Society here during the riots.