SC relief to Modi in Gulberg case

Massacre probe sent back to trial court
Last Updated 13 September 2011, 05:08 IST

A three-judge Bench headed by Justice D K Jain decided not to monitor the case and disposed of the petition filed by Zakia Ehsan, wife of slain Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, in the massacre in Gulberg Society housing condominium at Ahmedabad.

Jafri has sought prosecution of Modi and top-ranking officials for their alleged inaction in the killing of her husband and 69 others on February 28, 2002.

The decision of the Supreme Court led Modi and the BJP leadership to exult over what they are seeing as vindication of the chief minister.

The Congress refused to see it as a victory of Modi, while civil rights activists were crestfallen, as they see Modi to be too influential in the State for the trial court to take a view adverse to him. “We are of the opinion that in the instant case we have reached a stage where the process of monitoring of the case must come to an end. It would neither be desirable nor advisable to retain further seisin over this case,” the bench also comprising Justices P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam said.

The Court directed the Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by former CBI Chief R K Raghavan to submit its probe report and statement of witnesses, along with the report of amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran before the trial Court, which can take a final call to decide the future course of action in the matter.

“We are of the opinion that bearing in mind the scheme of Chapter XII of the Code (of Criminal Procedure), once the investigation has been conducted and completed by the SIT, in terms of the orders passed by this Court from time to time, there is no course available in law, save and except to forward the final report under Section 173 (2) of the Code to the Court empowered to take cognizance of the offence alleged,” the bench said.

The apex court also said the trial Court should issue notice to Jafri and hear her version if it decided to close the case based on the SIT report.

Jafri had challenged a Gujarat High Court verdict passed on November 2, 2007 turning down her plea for registration of the FIR on her private complaint dated June, 8, 2006.

According to the petitioner, the incidents which took place during the period between February 27, 2002 and May 10, 2002, were aided, abetted and conspired by some responsible persons in power, in connivance with the state administration, including the Police.

The court had on April 27, 2009 directed the SIT to probe into the complaint of Jafri. The SIT, on its part, submitted a report on May 12, last year, recommending further investigation against several police officers and a Gujarat minister.

Following its final report on April 24, the court asked senior counsel Raju Ramachandran, who had replaced advocate Prashant Bhushan, as amicus curiae to form an independent view of the SIT findings.

(Published 12 September 2011, 03:01 IST)

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