SC reserves verdict on Zakia Jafri plea challenging SIT ‘clean chit’

The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its verdict on the plea of Zakia Jafri, wife of Congress leader Ehsan Jafri who was killed during the violence at Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad in 2002, challenging SIT’s clean chit to then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others during the riots in the state.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the SIT, told the bench headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar that the top court should endorse the decision taken by the Gujarat High Court on Jafri’s plea. He added that it will become an endless exercise, being pushed by some motives of social activist Teesta Setalvad — the second petitioner in the petition.

Concluding the arguments, Rohatgi submitted before the bench, also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar that nobody had “raised a finger” against it on the probe in the 2002 Gujarat riots.

After hearing detailed arguments in the matter, the bench reserved its verdict on Jafri’s petition challenging the 2017 Gujarat High Court order rejecting her plea against the SIT decision.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the petitioners, cited work done by Setalvad’s organisations and added that to paint somebody “anti-Gujarat” is unfair. He said this is yet another occasion when the majesty of the law is being tested and he is not keen on targeting anybody and emphasized that it was SIT’s task to find out who the offenders are, if any offence has been committed.

He said the matter can be closed, if nobody did it and all this happened without anybody doing it, against 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 SIT gave a clean chit to Modi and in 2017, the Gujarat High Court, upheld the clean chit. Zakia Jafri moved the top court challenging the Gujarat High Court order.

During the hearing in the matter, Rohatgi had contended that allegations have become wilder over the years, and emphasised that SIT diligently investigated each and every allegation, and made recommendations for prosecution of many who had earlier been left out. He had submitted that allegations about a larger conspiracy, were found to be based on the statements of three “tainted” police officers — R.B. Sreekumar, Rahul Sharma, and Sanjiv Bhatt.




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