The judicial pronouncement on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 post-Godhra riots should be accepted and not questioned, a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader on Wednesday said, virtually giving a clean chit to Modi. The Congress sought to downplay the remarks of the key ally.
“We are in an era when we believe the judicial system is the final recourse to justice on any issue or to bring finality to any controversy and if the judicial system has given any pronouncement, we ought to respect it. We will not question it further,” Union Minister and NCP leader Praful Patel told reporters, responding to questions on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s attack on Modi accusing his government of abetting the 2002 riots.
While Patel maintained it was for an individual to give his or her version in an interview, he said, “But the fact remains that if the judicial system has given certain finality to any controversy, then we should let it rest there.”
The Congress downplayed Patel’s remarks saying allies are entitled to air views on political issues but asserted that a just and fair inquiry and punishment are a pre-requisite in the law and constitution and cannot be stopped. “And be it Narendra Modi, ministers in his government or functionaries of the VHP, RSS and the BJP, whosoever is found guilty after the probe should get punishment,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters.
When pointed out that Congress’ allies are changing stance, he said, “Allies are entitled to an opinion and once every ally in UPA sits together, all differences of opinion are sorted out on policy matters. On political issues they are entitled to their opinion.”
He said Patel is entitled to his opinion but “we believe restorative justice, justice for crimes committed by any individual, groups or parties is a pre-requisite in our law and constitution and irrespective of number of years having been passed, the judicial process is still on. We will only request that judicial process needs to be expedited. Anybody guilty should be punished in accordance with the crime committed by him or her.”
The assailants then got into the car in which they came and drove off.