The Special Investigation Team (SIT) that probed the 2002 riots may have cleared Chief Minister Narendra Modi in its closure report,but back in 2010,SIT chief R K Raghavan had concurred with DIG A K Malhotra that some of the charges made against Modi in Zakia Jafris complaint could be established.
As per a copy of Raghavans 18-page comment on Malhotras inquiry dated May 14,2010,uploaded on the website of Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP),the SIT chief even complimented the DIG for the good work.
Three of the officials who had participated in the controversial meeting of February 27,2002,where Modi is alleged to have instructed them to go easy on rioters,have been accommodated in post-retirement jobs and are therefore obliged not to speak against the chief minister or the state government,Raghavan says in the SITs preliminary report submitted before the Supreme Court in May 2010.
The same report quotes Raghavan as saying that the allegation of Modi not visiting riot-affected areas early enough is substantiated by Modis own admission before the SIT during his questioning on March 27-28,2010. The SITs closure report of 2012 cleared Modi on this count.
Again,in SITs preliminary report submitted in 2010,Raghavan referred to the interview Modi allegedly gave to Zee TV on March 1,2002,and observed that …accusing some elements in Godhra and neighbourhood as possessing a criminal tendency was sweeping and offensive coming as it did from a Chief Minister,that too at a critical time when Hindu-Muslim tempers were running high.
However,two years later,the SITs closure report says Modis statements …appear to have been quoted out of context and therefore based on these statements,no case is made against him.
On the question of alleged delay on the part of Modi in visiting the riot-hit areas in Ahmedabad,where victims were mainly Muslims,Raghavan says in the 2010 report that this allegation has been established by chief ministers own admission before the SIT. He did not cite any specific reason why he did not visit the affected areas in Ahmedabad as promptly as he did in the case of Godhra train carnage.
However,the closure report two years later relies on a statement by Modis OSD Sanjay Bhavsar to conclude that the …chief minister remained awfully busy with steps to control the law and order situation,providing medical treatment to the riot victims,their rehabilitation…. It cannot be said that the CM had the partisan attitude.
About the two ministers,IK Jadeja and late Ashok Bhatt,being stationed in police control rooms on February 28,2002,and following days,Raghavan had said in 2010,Although there is no evidence that this was directly at the instance of chief minister,the fact that he was the Cabinet Minister for Home would heighten the suspicion that this decision had his blessings.