Updated: December 10, 2021 6:27:25 am
The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) which probed the 2002 post-Godhra riots Thursday said that Zakia Jafri, wife of slain Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the riots, and others who were now blaming it of siding with the accused had never pointed fingers at it in the past though they had ample time to and reiterated that the charges were now being driven by her co-petitioner, activist Teesta Setalvad.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi submitted this before a bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and C T Ravikumar which reserved its judgment on Jafri’s appeal challenging the Gujarat High Court order upholding the decision of the Metropolitan Magistrate Court in Ahmedabad, to accept the closure report filed by the SIT giving a clean chit to the then state Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others in riot related cases.
Rohatgi said that the SIT had given one report in 2010 concluding that there was no cognisable material. “The Amicus Curiae was there. The petitioner was there. Amicus then said do some more investigation”, which was done and two more reports given, he pointed out.
Rohatgi added “nature of investigation and report which was given between 2009 and 2011 qua this complaint (of Zakia), not a single averment before or during hearing before this court that investigation was slipshod or sided with accused or done something wrong”.
“At the end of the day, where do we stand? SC stayed trial, then vacated in 2009. Told SIT, a body of impartial officers, to take up 9 cases in 2008. We did our job. We were commended first by Justice Arijit Pasayat and then Justice J S Khehar. Nobody has raised a finger against us…It is petitioner no 2 who is driving this petition for the last 10 years,” said Rohatgi.
Appearing for the petitioners, senior advocate Kapil Sibal had argued that the SIT was using statements of witnesses recorded under section 161 to give clean chit to those behind the incidents.
Countering this, Rohatgi pointed out that the procedure adopted by the SC in the matter was an Article 142 (which gives it power to pass orders as may be necessary to do complete Justuce in a case) procedure and not something mandated by law.
The senior counsel said he did not want to go into the fairness of the approach but added that the statements recorded were not section 161 statements.
“It is later in 2013 that SC gave the imprimatur of Section 161. It was therefore a procedure adopted by court that nobody can say it did not listen to the voice of an aggrieved widow”.
Rohatgi added that the “Idea is to keep the pot boiling for the ulterior purposes of the petitioner 2”.
He urged the SC to approve the decision of the trial court and HC saying that otherwise, it will go on endless just to further the ulterior motives of the petitioner number 2”.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.