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Sunday, January 26, 2020

2002 riots: Verdict on Zakia’s protest plea likely today

Case was initially filed against Modi and 61 politicians,bureaucrats,police officers and others.

Written by Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Published: December 26, 2013 1:01:32 am

A metropolitan court is likely to pronounce its verdict Thursday on Zakia Jafri’s protest petition against the closure report filed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) giving a clean chit to CM Narendra Modi in the 2002 Godhra and post-Godhra riot cases.

The case was initially filed against Modi and 61 politicians,bureaucrats,police officers and others,but the list is now down to 56,all of them accused of omission or commission during the riots.

Jafri’s husband and Congress ex-MP Ahsan Jafri,was among the 68 people killed by a mob in Gulberg Society on February 28,2002. The apex court appointed an SIT under former CBI director R K Raghavan to conduct a preliminary enquiry. The SIT submitted a report in 2011 clearing Modi of all charges.

The metropolitan court has sought security cover for its premises and Magistrate B G Ganatra to thwart any untoward incident given the sensitivity of the case. There will be two dozen cops in the court.

This is the only riot case involving Modi who faces allegations of alleged conspiracy and failing to discharges his duty.

The closure report was filed in September 2011,when SIT said that there was not enough evidence to prosecute Modi. Nearly a year after this report,the complainant filed a protest petition challenging the SIT report and alleged that the probing agency for being biased. The matter was heard by the magistrate for nearly five months on which the judgment he may pronounce on Thursday.

During arguments,Zakia’s lawyers claimed that SIT ignored the witnesses and evidence and hurried to file a closer report. They also demanded reinvestigation of the case by an independent agency.

On the other hand,the SIT in its arguments discarded Zakia’s complaint as “fiction” while stating that she doesn’t remember any of the charges she has levelled against Modi and others.

In 2006,Zakia had approached the SC after Gujarat Police refused to lodge an FIR based on her allegations against 62 persons including Modi. The apex court then appointed the SIT to probe nine riots related cases in Gujarat.

Since the original complaint,four accused have died.

IPS officers Satish Verma and Rahul Sharma,who were in the original list of accused,were dropped later. Verma assisted the CBI in the Ishrat encounter case while Sharma obtained call data records from cellphone companies,during the riots,as evidence.

Former minister Maya Kodnani and Bajrang Dal leader,who were convicted in the Naroda Patia case,have been dropped from this list along with VHP leader Jaideep Patel and DSP K G Erda.

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