Zakia Jafri’s lawyers conclude arguments against clean chit to PM Modi, others

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Delhi, April 28: The lawyers representing Zakia Jafri, wife of ex-Congress lawmaker Ahsan Jafri who was killed in the Gulberg Society massacre during the 2002 riots, on Thursday concluded their submissions to the Gujarat High Court, which is hearing her petition against the clean chit to the then chief minister Narendra Modi and others in the communal riots.

The Supreme Court directed-Special Investigation Team (SIT) will now argue against the plea and defend its closure report giving relief to Modi and 60 others, including several police officials and politicians.

Jafri contended that Modi along with the other accused was responsible for the widespread riots, which were part of a “larger conspiracy”.

Appearing for Jafri, Mumbai-based senior lawyer Mihir Desai claimed that the SIT did not investigate the case deeply and ignored a major part of the evidence, which could have been included in the investigation.

He also added that statements of ex-IPS Sanjiv Bhatt, former DGP R B Sreekumar, ex-IPS Rahul Sharma, statements of slain BJP leader Haren Pandya and his father Vitthalbhai, among others, were not considered worthy by the SIT.

Desai affirmed that these aspects should have been left by the SIT for the trial court to decide. He debated that the magisterial court, where the closure report was filed by the SIT, ought not to have accepted it. Jafri had moved the High Court in 2014 after her protest petition against the closure report was denied by the magisterial court. “Our protest petition which was rejected by the Court should be treated as an independent complaint and further investigation should have been ordered,” Desai said.
According to the lawyer, the magisterial court has the authority to reject the closure report and order further investigation. However, during the hearing, Justice Sonia Gokani of the High Court pointed out that in absence of a FIR, the magisterial court couldn’t have used this power.

Desai alleged that the SIT didn’t probe the case in a proper manner and stated that Sanjiv Bhatt’s statement before the investigation team. Bhatt, who was sacked from his service, had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court claiming that he had attended the meeting at Modi’s residence on February 27, 2002, where Modi allegedly told his officers “to let Hindus vent their anger” after the Sabarmati Express train carnage.

However, the SIT didn’t believe Bhatt’s claim. Desai also debated that further investigation into the case was necessary to dig out various other aspects which the SIT didn’t consider. He said that a large number of crucial records linked to the riots went missing from the state government’s records.

There were hate speeches, criminal negligence by officers, lack of preventive measures, not imposing a curfew on time among others instances which the SIT didn’t consider.

 Wefornews Bureau

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