Court to see if SIT report complies with SC order in Gujarat riots

The metropolitan magistrate court in Ahmedabad will on Wednesday deliver its verdict on the petition seeking a copy of the Special Investigation Team’s (SIT) final report which has reportedly given a clean chit to Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

The court will also rule on whether the SIT had filed the report in compliance with the Supreme Court order.

The SIT appointed by the Supreme Court had on Tuesday last submitted its final report on the Zakiya Jafri complaint accusing Modi and 62 others of being involved in a wider conspiracy behind the post–Godhra riots. Though the report was submitted in a sealed cover, sources in the SIT had revealed that the team had found no prosecutable evidence against the chief minister.

Complainant Zakiya Jafri and co-petitioner and activist Teesta Setalvad had approached the court citing the SC order, which they claimed had made it mandatory to provide them with the copies.

However, during the hearing on Monday,  SIT lawyer R S Jamuvar argued that the report has to be first analysed and evaluated by the judge before the court can provide copies to the complainant.

 “In fact, only the complainant would be entitled to get the report as per the SC guidelines and not the co-petitioner,” argued Jamuvar
He said the SIT along with the final report had submitted an application stating that they needed a month’s time to file additional documentation in adherence to the SC order.

Extension of time

“There are thousands of pages which need to be properly marked and serialised. So we have requested extension of time. We are still willing to provide it if the court directs us to do it early,’’ he submitted.

However,  Zakiya’s counsel S M Vora accused the SIT of contempt of the Supreme Court.

“The SC order was explicit that not just the final report, but all the documentation has to be submitted, which they haven’t,’’ said Vora.

He further argued that it was the right of the complainant to get the copy of the report since the SC had made it binding on the SIT.

After hearing the arguments,  the court fixed Wednesday as judgment day.
Senior SIT member A K Malhotra and investigating officer Himanshu Shukla were present in the court during the arguments.

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