SC reserves verdict on plea against Modi clean chit

Godhra riots: Supreme Court reserves judgement on plea against Modi clean chit

Zakia Jafri, wife of former Congress leader Ehsan Jafri who was killed during the violence, approached the court over the SIT probe

Representative picture. Credit: PTI Photo

The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its judgement on a plea by Zakia Jafri — wife of former Congress leader Ehsan Jafri who was killed during the violence at Gulberg Society — against a clean chit to then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others in connection with the 2002 riots.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the special investigation team (SIT), told the bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar that the top court should endorse the decisions taken by the Gujarat High Court and the trial court with regard to Jafri's plea. 

It would become an endless exercise, being pushed by social activist Teesta Setalvad, the second petitioner in the petition, he said.

Rohatgi also claimed before the bench, also comprising justices Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar, that nobody had “raised a finger” against the SIT on the probe in the 2002 Gujarat riots. 

Also Read — Plea alleging larger conspiracy in 2002 post-Godhra riots to keep 'pot boiling', SC told

After hearing detailed arguments in the matter, the bench reserved its verdict on Jafri's petition against the Gujarat High Court's order of 2017, which had rejected her plea against the SIT decision. 

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the petitioners, cited work done by Setalvad's organisations. To paint somebody anti-Gujarat is unfair, he said.

Sibal said that this was yet another occasion when the majesty of the law is being tested and he is not keen on targeting anybody. He emphasised that it was the SIT’s task to find out who the offenders were and if any offence had been committed.

He said the matter can be closed if nobody had done it and if the incident had happened without anybody doing it, in the backdrop of the material before the court. “But if you feel that offences have been committed then who is responsible is a matter of investigation,” Sibal said.

The petitioner questioned the SIT's clean chit to 64 people, including Modi. The SIT report had ruled out any "larger conspiracy" by high state functionaries in instigating the communal riots post Godhra massacre.

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