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Giving Guj riots probe to CBI a closed chapter,rules SC

The SC said the 'chapter' of handing over the post-Godhra riots investigation to CBI was 'closed'.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
February 10, 2010 12:29:09 am

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said the “chapter” of handing over the post-Godhra riots investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was “closed”,and the exercise would only “put the clock back”.

A three-judge Bench headed by Justice D K Jain observed that to transfer the probe from the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT),set up on March 26,2008,to the CBI would only retard the progress made since its inception.

The court was replying to a submission by advocate Kamini Jaiswal,appearing for human rights activists,for a CBI probe.

“That chapter is closed. Transferring the investigation to another agency will only put the clock back. All the work done so far will go waste and this investigation will take a long time to finish,” noted the Bench,also comprising Justices P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam.

Citing a judicial order passed by Ahmedabad Metropolitan Magistrate S P Tamang on September 7,2009 in the Ishrat Jahan case,Jaiswal argued that many police officers indicted in the Ishrat case were “assisting” the SIT members in the Godhra probe.

Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium,too,criticised the SIT for “keeping back evidence” from the trial.

The apex court has now directed SIT chairman and former CBI director R K Raghavan to “comment” on the allegations of lapses made by the activists.

Jaiswal also questioned how senior advocate Harish Salve,an amicus curiae in the post-Godhra cases,could appear for the Gujarat government in the Ishrat case. “I have no faith in the amicus curiae. Everybody is appearing for everybody here. My Lords should discipline the court,” Jaiswal said.

To this,the court responded that it was up to the Bench to decide who they should appoint as amicus.

Replying to a suggestion mooted by the SG that adverse remarks passed by the apex court against IPS officer and SIT convenor Gita Johri in the Soharabbuddin fake encounter case made her position shaky,Salve said “heavens will not fall” if she was relieved of her duties.

Salve,however,suggested that the SIT should be given liberty to consult Johri on the investigations.

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