In Ehsan Jafri murder probe,SIT zeroes in on ex-minister

The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team,probing the Gujarat riots of 2002,has zeroed in on a former state Home Minister...

Written by Krishnadas Rajagopal | New Delhi | Published: August 20, 2010 3:24:13 am

The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team,probing the Gujarat riots of 2002,has zeroed in on a former state Home Minister and two senior police officers for playing a partisan role in the communal violence.

A special bench led by Justice D K Jain was told by SIT chief R K Raghavan today that a probe was underway against “three individuals” in the Gulberg Society massacre case. The court gave him permission to conduct “further” investigation.

Former Gujarat Minister of State for Home Gordhan Zadaphia,retired Additional DGP M K Tandon and IGP P B Gondia are under investigation,sources said,though Raghavan did not take names in court.

In 2002,Tandon was Joint Commissioner of Police,Sector II,while Gondia was DCP in the same sector. Both were in charge of those parts of Ahmedabad which witnessed carnages — Naroda Patia where 95 people were killed and Gulberg Society where 69 perished.

The three are among 65 people,including Chief Minister Narendra Modi,listed as accused in a complaint filed by Zakia,widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri — he was killed by a mob at his Gulberg Society home — on the alleged collusion of the state machinery and rioters.

The SIT had summoned Modi for a six-hour questioning session on the killing of Jafri.

In fact,the Supreme Court today ordered the SIT not to disclose statements collected from Modi. “We direct the SIT not to divulge any information collected during the course of investigation to anyone except the trial court and public prosecutor concerned.”

Meanwhile,the bench took “serious view” of a complaint against activist Teesta Setalvad by a Special Public Prosecutor in a riot case.

According to a report read out in court by Justice Jain,one Salim Sheikh moved an application on July 19 in the trial court. Special Public Prosecutor R C Kodekar objected to the application,after which he got a call from Setalvad questioning his objection. She allegedly rebuked him for being “very unfair like the trial judge”.

The conversation was reported to the SIT which notified the Supreme Court. Setalvad’s mobile number and the conversation transcripts were placed on record. Setalvad said she did have a conversation with the prosecutor but not on the matter alleged in the report. Saying it did not want to “pursue” the matter,the bench said only the SIT chief could call up prosecutors.

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