SIT report to come up for hearing in court tomorrow

SIT report to come up for hearing in court tomorrow

A local court will tomorrow hear the closure report filed by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), which has reportedly given a clean chit to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi among others for their role in 2002 post-Godhra riots.

The court of Metropolitan Magistrate M S Bhatt will also hear the petitions filed by social activists Teesta Setalvad and Mukul Sinha seeking copies of the report filed in a sealed cover before it on Wednesday.

The SIT has reportedly observed that it did not have "prosecutable evidence" against Modi and 57 others. Earlier, the apex court had asked the SIT to investigate whether there was a larger conspiracy behind the 2002 riots in which more than 1,200 people were killed.

A complaint in this regard was filed by Setalvad and Zakia Jaffery, widow of former Congress MP Ehsaan Jaffrey, in the infamous Gulburg Society case where 69 people were killed during the communal frenzy in 2002.

SIT after questioning many people, including Modi, had filed a report in the Supreme Court in which it had reportedly said that there was no prosecutable evidence against the chief minister.

The apex court had then asked amicus curie Raju Ramchandran to independently assess the SIT report. Ramcharndran during his visit to Gujarat interacted with several persons as well as witnesses and then submitted his report to the Supreme Court in which he reportedly differed from the view expressed by SIT on prosecuting Modi and others.

SIT and Ramchandran also met suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who in his affidavit filed before the apex court, had said that Modi in a meeting held at his residence on February 27, 2002 asked the state police officials to "allow Hindus to went their anger" after 59 people, most of them Karsevaks, were killed in the Godhra train burning incident.

SIT, however, in its report submitted to Supreme Court had reportedly said that Bhatt was not a reliable witness as his claim of being present in the said meeting was negated by nine other senior most police and home department officials who attended the meeting. The apex court had refused to take Bhatt's affidavit on record.

The Supreme Court on September 12, 2011, after going through Raju Ramchandrna's report, had refrained from passing any order in the case and asked the SIT to submit its final report in the magisterial court here.

The SIT almost took five months after the SC order to file its final report in the case before the magistrate's court here. Supreme Court had asked the magisterial court to hear the petitioners before closure (C) summary in the case, even if the report was in favour of Modi and others.

The petitioners will have right to challenge the decision of the local court on the report in the High Court and then Supreme Court. The court will also have to provide all the reports and documents submitted by the SIT to Zakia before hearing her in case the SIT not finding any grounds to prosecute Modi or others.