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Gujarat riots: Want to see SIT closure report, says Supreme Court

Kapil Sibal said the magistrate court had not considered Jafri’s protest petition against the SIT report. He said even the SIT, in its report, had not restricted itself to the Gulberg Society incident.

Kapil Sibal said the magistrate court had not considered Jafri’s protest petition against the SIT report. He said even the SIT, in its report, had not restricted itself to the Gulberg Society incident.

THE SUPREME Court said on Tuesday that it wanted to see the closure report filed before a Metropolitan Magistrate Court in Ahmedabad by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) which probed the 2002 post-Godhra riots, giving a clean chit to then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 63 others.

“We want to see the closure report accepted by the magistrate. It will have the reasons,” a Bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar told Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal who appeared for Zakia Jafri, widow of Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed during the 2002 Gujarat riots. Jafri has challenged the Gujarat HC’s order on October 5, 2017, upholding the magistrate court’s decision to accept the closure report.

Sibal told the Bench, which included Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and C T Ravikumar, that the SIT and the courts did not look at Jafri’s complaints and other relevant facts. He submitted that Jafri’s complaint was not limited to the Gulberg Society violence in which her husband was killed, and the SC-appointed SIT “ignored” evidence like that of (IPS officer) Sanjiv Bhatt etc.

“Our case was (that) there was a larger conspiracy at play, where there was bureaucratic inaction, police complicity, hate speech and a conspired directed unleashing of violence. But the ‘magistrate says I cannot look at anything else since the Supreme Court asked me to look into only Gulberg Society case’,” he submitted.

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“There were people who were massacred due to police inaction. I am giving you official evidence. Who will be answerable for this? The future generations?,” said Sibal. “There are 23,000 pages worth of documents we have been collecting. A republic stands or falls depending on what the court decides. We cannot trust anyone but the judiciary and courts,” he said.

“I am not on any particular person. This is not a political issue, It’s the administrative failure of the state that I am concerned with,” said Sibal. “All that I am looking for here is the investigation and not a conviction at this stage. I can show state intelligence bureau reports and see how it corroborates our submissions… We can’t look away like this. This republic is too great to look the other way. So many documents were destroyed. Shouldn’t this be investigated,” he said.

Sibal said the magistrate court had not considered Jafri’s protest petition against the SIT report. He said even the SIT, in its report, had not restricted itself to the Gulberg Society incident. Statements of witnesses before the SIT were with respect to the entire state, he said.

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The Bench said that “ultimately the report is with reference to the crime. Crime in respect of which cognizance was or is to be taken”.

“I must have a remedy in law, what is that? Magistrate doesn’t look at it, sessions court doesn’t look at it. I leave it for future generations to find out who will look at this,” submitted Sibal.

“If we limit it only to Gulberg, what happens to rule of law, what happens to all material,” he asked. “It’s quite clear that (Jafri’s) complaint didn’t relate to Gulberg alone, neither did the material. If we point something to the court and the court says I will not look at it, where do we go, which court do we go to,” he said.

First published on: 27-10-2021 at 02:08:26 am
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