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Tuesday, December 07, 2021

SIT in 2002 riots itself should be probed, Zakia Jafri tells SC

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who appeared for Zakia Jafri, said: “there was to be an investigation.... If there is no investigation, what was the purpose of the Supreme Court constituting the SIT?”

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: November 12, 2021 2:20:20 am
Jafri is the wife of slain Congress leader Ehsan Jafri, who was killed at Gulberg society in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002 during the violence. (Express photo)

Zakia Jafri, the wife of Congress MP Ahsan Jafri who was killed during the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat, on Thursday demanded that the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), which gave a clean chit to then chief minister Narendra Modi in its closure report, itself “should be investigated”.

Appearing for Jafri, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal told a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar that the “SIT was concluding contrary to facts. In fact such SITs should be investigated”.

Sibal recalled that the SIT was set up because the National Human Rights Commission moved the SC, saying that the local police were not investigating properly. But the SIT also did not investigate as it should have, he said.

Sibal said that the metropolitan magistrate, before whom the SIT filed the closure report, also did not apply his mind to the protest petition filed by Jafri against accepting the report, and pointed out that the SIT had not recorded statements of people like K P S Gill and had not looked at security logs and records of army and paramilitary forces.

“Why was magistrate mute on these issues. It was the duty of magistrate and HC. Before accepting a final report, (it is) incumbent on magistrate to apply his mind to protest petition” said Sibal.

He also asked why the police did not take videos of the violent mobs, and why there was a delayed response to distress calls. “Messages related to funeral processions [were] deliberately ignored by SIT” he said.

The senior counsel pointed out that VHP leader Jaideep Patel, to whom the bodies of those killed in the Godhra train fire were handed over, had said that he was traveling in the night and no one had any inkling of it. “But then how did 3,000 people collect when the bodies arrived in Ahmedabad?….Who told them to come? None of this was investigated. No mobiles were seized,” said Sibal.

He contended that hate speech posters of the VHP which were given to the SIT were “willfully, purposefully ignored by” it. The team had also not probed the partisan role of public prosecutors, said the senior counsel.

He argued that “in the light of what was presented before Magistrate by way of this protest petition, the Magistrate could have in many of these cases itself taken cognizance”.

Referring to the tapes of a sting operation done by Tehelka magazine, Sibal said, “When a man in a tape [recording] says I killed, or made bombs, it is extra judicial confession and in terms of SC ruling is a very potent evidence”. He claimed that “all these people who collaborated were rehabilitated later” and added that R K Raghavan, the head of the SIT, was “made” an ambassador.

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