Defending its closure report giving clean chit to the then chief minister Narendra Modi and 60 others in the 2002 riots, the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Friday told the Gujarat High Court that there was no scope for any further investigation into the allegations of Zakia Jafri, wife of former Congress MP Ahsan Jafri who was killed in the Gulberg Society massacre. Zakia has challenged the SIT clean chit to Modi and the others, including several police officials and politicians. She had alleged that Modi along with the others were responsible for the widespread riots, which were part of a “larger conspiracy”.
A day after lawyers representing Zakia concluded their submissions before the High Court, SIT counsel C S Vaidyanathan argued that Zakia’s complaint was “investigated, reinvestigated and further investigated” under the supervision of the apex court till the closure report was filed before the magisterial court in 2012 in Ahmedabad. And therefore, there was nothing left in the allegations which require further probe, the SIT counsel said. Vaidyanathan argued that the Supreme Court ordered the report be placed before the magisterial court as per the provision since the investigation was done under Section 173 (8) and directed the lower court decide the matter in accordance with the law.
“The magisterial court had only two options either to accept the report or reject it. The court accepted our report,” Vaidyanathan said. He further argued that “to say that there was still scope for the magistrate to order further probe would be sitting on the order of the apex court. Besides, the magistrate examined all the aspects of the report, scrutinized all the details and applied his mind and then came to the conclusion”.
However, Justice Sonia Gokani was not convinced with the arguments advanced by Vaidyanathan and told him to give further submission that why the magistrate couldn’t have ordered further probe. Justice Gokani also found that the Supreme Court had treated Zakia’s petition differently. She asked the SIT counsel to elaborate how the Zakia’s petition was part of the Gulberg Society massacre. She also asked the counsel to explain various other technical issues concerning the case in the next hearing on June 9.
Earlier, Vaidyanathan had narrated how the National Human Rights Commission approached the apex court in 2003 after reports of accused getting bail and manner on which trial were being conducted in the riots cases. He said that in 2004 the apex court ordered the state government to asked seven range inspector generals to monitor 2,000 odd cases and sought quarterly report from the Director General of Police. He said that such report are still being submitted before the court.