The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the petition of Zakia Jafri, the widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who was killed in the Gujarat riots.
In this petition, the clean chit given by the SIT to 59 people, including the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi, was challenged in the 2002 Gujarat riots case.
A bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar of the Supreme Court gave this decision.
The Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up to probe the Gujarat riots had given a clean chit to the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Zakia Jafri had filed a petition in the Supreme Court on 9 December 2021 last year.
‘Clean chit was given due to lack of evidence’
The Special Investigation Team (SIT) had filed a report in the court for closure of the case on 8 February 2012. In its report, the SIT had given clean chit to 59 people, including Narendra Modi, saying that there was no prosecutable evidence against them.
After this, the lower court had given a clean chit on the basis of the report of the SIT.
On Friday, the Supreme Court said in its decision, “We are upholding the decision of the magistrate in which the report of the SIT was accepted. There is no merit in this appeal and we dismiss it.”
gulbarg society scandal
Congress MP Ehsan Jafri died during the Gujarat riots, in the Gulberg Society incident. In this petition filed in the Supreme Court, the decision of the Gujarat High Court was challenged in the year 2017. The High Court had dismissed the petition, upholding the decision of the lower court to accept the report of the SIT.
Is Doing Widow’s Help Illegal?
Senior advocate and Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal appeared on behalf of Zakia Jafri in the court.
Sibal asked the court whether it is illegal to help a widow. Kapil Sibal said, “Is it illegal to help a widow who is not getting justice? Actually it is a duty under section 39 of CrPC.”
He said that is it not enough that the court had stayed the trial because the government was not doing anything. He said, “There is a difference between giving a bandage to a witness and guiding him. The state of mind of the injured witnesses was such that they needed to be guided.”
Sibal said that if the victims think that the government is not treating them properly, then what is wrong in that. Doesn’t it mean that any victim who raises voice against the government should be presented in this manner? Which agenda is this?
Sibal argued that a separate FIR can be registered in this case. Senior advocate and Rajya Sabha MP Sibal said, “The recording of the tapes that surfaced shows that there was a conspiracy. Had there been an investigation, a bigger conspiracy would have been uncovered.”
Questioning the modus operandi of the SIT, Sibal said what was the SIT doing against the accused, despite all kinds of evidence and documents?
The SIT was formed by the Supreme Court after the application of Ehsan Jafri’s wife, Zakia Jafri. The SIT told the Supreme Court that it had “examined in detail the cases related to the Gujarat riots”.
On Friday, senior advocate and former Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi rejected Kapil Sibal’s arguments in the court and said, “We have thoroughly and thoroughly investigated all the cases related to the Gujarat riots.”
Strongly opposing Sibal, Mukul Rohatgi told the Supreme Court that the SIT had come to the conclusion that there was no concrete evidence other than the chargesheet filed against the accused, so that the 2006 case should be taken forward. Zakia Jafri had challenged the SIT’s clean chit to the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots in the Supreme Court.
Rohatgi said that there were nine major cases and nine FIRs. There was one Gulberg case, which is related to the death of Zakia’s husband. The matter came to the SIT in 2008-09. Rohatgi said, “All the big cases came to the SIT and charge sheets were filed in all. Several supplementary charge sheets were also filed. High Court asked to file a complaint. Zakia then went to the Supreme Court against the order of the High Court. The SIT had worked in this case in a sequential manner. There is no concrete evidence on the basis of which it is known that there was some other conspiracy.
Like Tehelka Tape Sting Operation
Rohatgi also raised the question that if Zakia had gone to court in 2007-08 itself, she could have rectified her complaint. But she went to the SIT. The SIT was formed by the Supreme Court on the petition of the NHRC. The SIT was given the responsibility of investigating all the nine cases while the trial was stayed. Rohgati also said that Tehelka’s tapes surfaced a year and a half after the complaint. There is no dispute about the credibility of the tapes but the SIT found that the conversations of the tapes were like sting operations. According to Rohatgi, some people said that it was part of the script itself. The SIT didn’t find any solid evidence that anyone could file a charge sheet or an FIR. The SIT gave the sting material to three of the nine courts. One of the courts even dismissed the sting operation.”
Rohatgi defended the SIT investigation into the riot cases and said that our job was to see whether there are people who are not already accused but there is evidence against them or we should file another chargesheet. That was our limit.
Rohatgi also clarified that this was the job of the SIT and not to proceed on Zakia’s complaint…our job is to investigate the complaint and submit the report. Rohatgi, without claiming that there was any complicity of the police in the whole matter, said that the postmortem was done by the team of expert doctors. Rohatgi said that whatever we did was more than our capability, yet misrepresentation is being made against the SIT.