The Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team while seeking conviction of all the 61 accused, concluded its final arguments in 2002 Gulberg Society massacre case. Sixty-nine persons, including former Congress MP Ahsan Jafri, whose widow Zakia has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others for the riots, were killed by a mob on February 28 in the aftermath of Sabarmati Express train burning incident in Godhra.
With this the court is now likely to hear a petition by the riot survivors and victims who have sought arraignment of four police officers in this case before hearing the argument of defence lawyers. The officers include former Gujarat DGP PC Pande, then commissioner of police, Ahmedabad, PB Gondia, then Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone-IV, S S Chudasama, then ACP (Detection of Crime Branch) and former Joint Commissioner of Police M K Tandon (retired). The petitioners have accused these police officers of dereliction of duty. The SIT in its report has given clean chit to these officers citing lack of evidence.
On the other hand, concluding the arguments the SIT lawyer RC Kodekar told the court that a day after train burning incident, a mob of around 20,000 to 22,000 had gathered at the Gulberg Society, a posh Muslim locality in Meghaninagar, and gutted the society in a killing spree in which 69 people died.
“We have summed up that there are 24 witnesses implicating all the persons directly. Their testimonies have been supported by medical evidences and other circumstances leading to the incident. We have narrated the case in six parts right from 10:30 am, when the incident began, till 5:30 pm, when the rescue operation started and the hurdles created by the accused,” Kodekar said.
He said that in the rescue operation 150 lives were saved from the “mouth of death” by the police teams. He said that the accused travelled long distance for participating in the riot and pushed victims into the corner. They have played overt role in the case leading to the mayhem. He said that more than two dozen accused were injured in private or police firing, stone- pelting which all establish their presence and participation in the crime.
“Possession of lethal weapons, swords, lathis, kerosene and patrol prove the fact that most of the victims were burnt alive. Most of the dead bodies found were charred meaning that prior to their deaths they were brutally assaulted and then set ablaze. 39 bodies were found from the scene while missing were presumed to be dead, including Jafri. There are evidence connecting his death,” Kodekar said.