A day after he failed to turn up before the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in connection with the Gulbarg Society massacre case of 2002,Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today claimed that March 21 had not been fixed as the date for his appearance.
To say that I was summoned on March 21 is completely false. I shall respond to the SIT fully respecting the law and keeping in view the dignity of a body appointed by the Supreme Court, Modi said in an open letter which was released by BJP leader Arun Jaitley who met him today.
On March 11,SIT chief R K Raghavan told reporters that Modi had been summoned on March 21 in connection with a petition filed by Zakia Jafri,widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was among those killed at Gulbarg Society on February 28,2002. He also said the summons were only in connection with the Jafri murder case.
On March 20,Raghavan said there had been no word from Modi after the summons. On March 21,the SIT office in Gandhinagar was kept open from 10.30 am to 6.10 pm but Modi did not turn up.
In his letter,Modi said the purveyors of untruth failed even to think that March 21 happens to be a Sunday and a public holiday and did not once bother to check whether the key SIT officers,who are appointed by the Supreme Court,were present in Gujarat on March 21.
After the 2002 Godhra incidents,I had categorically said in the Vidhan Sabha and in public that no one is above the Indian Constitution and the law,even if he happens to be the chief minister of a state.
The date of 21st March 2010 was invented by some vested interest and as a part of their effort to interfere in the due process of law. They wanted to paint me as a person who refused to respond to the SIT. This country has in the last twenty four hours witnessed a campaign of disinformation in which a section of the media became an instrument of the disinformers, Modi said.
Jaitley,who is a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat,was with Modi for over an hour in his chamber in the Assembly secretariat. The media was later called and the letter from Modi circulated.
Calling the reports on summons to Modi a canard,Jaitley said: All these reports are one-sided,this type of campaign has been going on for eight years to malign Modi and there is no basis to this.
It needs to be investigated,he said,who invented this,and who leaked all this,which vested interest did this.
Meanwhile,the Gujarat High Court directed Advocate General Kamal Trivedi to get a clarification from the Nanavati-Mehta Commission by April 1 whether its decision not to summon Modi and others was final or tentative.
In September 2009,the Commission,in response to a plea by Jan Sangharsh Manch activist Mukul Sinha,observed there was no sufficient ground to summon Modi and others. It was after this that Sinha filed a petition in the High Court.