March 26, 2008 12:39:20 am
The post-Godhra riot cases in Gujarat were back in the spotlight when the Supreme Court suggested today that a five-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) be constituted to investigate afresh the ten worst cases.
A formal order constituting the team is expected to be issued tomorrow by the court when it takes up other issues related to the 2002 communal riots.
Three IPS officers from Gujarat — Geeta Johri, Shivanand Jha and Ashish Bhatia — and two retired IPS officers from outside the state — former CBI chief R K Raghavan and former UP cadre officer C V Satpathy — are likely to make the five-member team.
Cases related to the killings at Gulbarg Society, Naroda Patiya, Naroda Gaon, Sardarpur and Ode are expected to be among the ten that will be the focus of the SIT.
The move to form an SIT came after the Gujarat government took a completely different stand on the plea by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to hand over investigation of these cases to an independent agency. The NHRC felt a fair and transparent trial was not possible in Gujarat.
The bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam declared its intention of forming an SIT after hearing the arguments of amicus curiae Harish Salve and senior counsel for Gujarat, Mukul Rohtagi, on the NHRC petition.
Rohtagi agreed to the suggestion for an independent agency to ensure that investigation and subsequent trials are not subverted.
Not willing to accept Gujarat’s submission of including only officers from the state, the bench suggested the names of Raghavan and Satpathy for the SIT.
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