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Updated: February 10, 2012 08:56 IST

Citing lack of intent, SIT lets Modi off riots hook

J. Venkatesan
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A CLEAN CHIT? Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi being garlanded during his Sadbhavna fast in Godhra. File Photo: PTI
A CLEAN CHIT? Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi being garlanded during his Sadbhavna fast in Godhra. File Photo: PTI

But claim of absence of evidence at odds with amicus report

The Special Investigation Team probing Zakia Jafri's complaint has freed Chief Minister Narendra Modi of all charges in the 2002 Gujarat pogrom against Muslims. In a “summary closure report” — filed before the magistrate's court in Ahmedabad on Wednesday — the R.K. Raghavan-led SIT said there was no “prosecutable evidence” against Mr. Modi, who was among 62 persons named in an omnibus complaint filed by Ms. Jafri and the Citizens for Justice and Peace.

The “closure report” runs counter to the opinion of Raju Ramachandran who was appointed amicus curiae by the Supreme Court. Mr. Ramachandran was of the view that there was ground for prosecuting Mr. Modi under various sections of the IPC.

Ms. Jafri's husband and former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri was among 69 persons brutally murdered in Gulberg Society by saffron mobs that attacked and killed at least 1,200 Muslim men and women across the State. Ms. Jafri and the CJP approached the Supreme Court after being turned away by the police establishment in Gujarat. In April 2009, the apex court appointed the Raghavan-led team to look into the complaint and, in an extraordinary subsequent move, asked Mr. Ramachandran to take an independent view of the SIT's report. In its September 12, 2011 judgment, the Court said it would be open for the SIT to append Mr. Ramachandran's findings to its report. However, The Hindu has learnt that the SIT may have merely “incorporated” Mr. Ramachandran's findings in its report and not attached the amicus' view in its entirety.

According to well placed sources, the SIT was of the opinion that there was no material evidence to indicate that Mr. Modi had “criminal intentions” to orchestrate the riots. Further, it felt mere inaction or negligence on the part of Mr. Modi could not form grounds for his prosecution. The SIT felt that “criminal intention” was vital to proceed further against the Chief Minister.

The SIT probed as many as 32 allegations of omission and commission by the Modi government and its functionaries, including the Chief Minister. As of now Mr. Modi and 61 others are not cited as accused in the case.

In its order last September, the Supreme Court said: “we deem it necessary to emphasise that if for any stated reason the SIT opines ... that there is no sufficient evidence or reasonable grounds for proceeding against any person named in the complaint ... [then] before taking a final decision on such ‘closure' report, the [trial] Court shall issue notice to the complainant and make available to her copies of the statements of the witnesses, other related documents and the investigation report strictly in accordance with law.”

Sanjiv Rajendra Bhatt, a senior Gujarat Police officer whose testimony was recorded by the SIT in Ms. Jafri's complaint, said in his affidavit filed in the Supreme Court that he attended a meeting convened by Mr. Modi on February 27, 2002 — after the Godhra train burning incident — and claimed that the effect of the instructions given by Mr. Modi was widely manifested in the communal riots and orchestrated violence during the State-sponsored bandh on February 28, 2002.

However, the SIT found no substantial corroborative evidence to back Mr. Bhatt's claim, holding that the claim was an afterthought on the part of Mr. Bhatt and that, as a junior level officer in 2002, there was no reason for him to be present at the meeting on that day.

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Let's look at the big picture. For 1000 yrs hindus were raped, murdered and converted by the proselytizing religions - Christianity and Islam. Even in Ahmedabad, before the 2001 riots, we Hindus were treated like second class citizens during the hindu-muslim fights and we always lost to ferocity of Muslims. Now here is a Hindu (Narendra Modi) who stands for hindus in our own soil and the media and so called pseudo-secularists cry about it? Wake up hindus, Our biggest enemy is within us. And that is not fighting against these false values that our politicians follow (by appeasing mulsims, calling for unity when muslims are hurting hindus, and by letting hindus become even weaker and the country weaker, while they are minting money in all the scandals) Let us fight for our rights which is given away to these Muslims and Christians in the name of secular government.

from:  MSharma
Posted on: Apr 11, 2012 at 01:53 IST

Heads I win, tails you lose. This is the summary of reactions from everyone opposed to BJP and Modi. Nobody ever talked about 58 burnt alive in the train or 253 Hindus killed. Nobody ever talked about preventive arrests of 17,947 Hindus and 3,616 Muslims. Or 27,901 Hindus and 7,651 Muslims who were arrested. Nobody talks about nearly 10,000 rounds of bullets fired in police shootings that killed 93 Muslims and 77 Hindus.

All I have heard in last 10 years is 790 muslims killed in the riot with all Gujratis being termed murderers.

from:  Mani Kumar
Posted on: Apr 10, 2012 at 23:56 IST

... While I laud " The Hindu ' for its continued reporting of the news regarding the plight of Gothra -Riot victims ,I am at a loss to know its lack of journalistic Dharma in not exposing the State Terrorism which resulted in the brutal murder of nearly 40,000 thousand innocent lankan Tamils though the paper is duty bound to do it beibng printed from the soils of TN ! I always appreciate Deccan Herald for its true to salt attitudes ! Even yesterday Dinamalr reported Lankan army searching for LTTE people in lankan provinces ,but als it found no place in this noble paper .!! Long live Patrika Dharma !!

from:  Prof.R.Krishnamurthy
Posted on: Apr 10, 2012 at 20:42 IST

SIT has clearly stated that Modi has no motives, and incapacity to act properly is not a crime. Otherwise we have to bring all prime ministers, ministers of railways, foreign affairs,the defense and plenty opthers for incapcity to defend india´s borders, death and destruction of people and properties of many hindus, sikhs and muslims in India which includes Kashmir. Since when we should believe and accept congress politicians voices instead of justices? Congress has interests to darken this non-corrupt and progressive CM. Tomorrow Bihar´s Kumar will also face this music. Even many BJP leaders do not like Modi.

from:  Jayanthi
Posted on: Apr 10, 2012 at 20:40 IST

For once forget Modi , forget the left .Our country is so divided that we think only about either so called secularism or about so called communalism but we never give a thought about changing our society to come out of its biased views of religion, caste , region etc and think as Indians .The day all of start thinking as Indians we will have less riots, less corruption and more prosperity. Because we are parochial we let go of reason and indulge in criminality/stupid behaviour. we the society deserve the politicians we get since we are consumed by the opium of religion/caste/region. Marx said that Religion is the opium of the masses but for Indians Religion/caste/regionalism is the opium.

from:  anil
Posted on: Apr 10, 2012 at 17:34 IST

Thank Tehelka for the expose of amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran’s
explosive confidential report to the Supreme Court so that one can
make an independent assessment of it.
In the opinion of Mr. Raju Ramachandran "The fact that other
bureaucrats present in the meeting have not acknowledged his presence
doesn’t reduce the legal value of Bhatt’s testimony. The veracity of
Bhatt’s revelations could only be ascertained by conducting a criminal
trial. To take any other stance at the pre-trial stage would amount to
pre-judging the case."
Juxtapose this with Justice Saiani’s order against Subramanian Swamy’s
plea to prosecute Chidambaram. Just the same, why not let Mr. Bhatt
stand trial to determine the veracity or otherwise of his allegations
against Mr. Narendra Modi before all else?
Well, Amicus has also noted that he is further conscious of the loose
but unsubstantiated allegations that Bhatt was now having some kind of
a truck with certain Congress leaders. However, these allegations have
no bearing on Bhatt’s credibility as a witness because: a) they are
unsubstantiated and b) even if found to be true they are related to
post-event circumstances.
It is not difficult to make out that Raju Ramachandran's report reads
like Mr. Bhatt's counter and not like the one of amicus curiae.
Surely Mr.Narendra Modi could relax.

from:  BS Murthy
Posted on: Feb 13, 2012 at 18:37 IST

Amicus curie Raju Ramchandran also finds that Kasab is not given "due process"!!If we want to accept report of amicus curie for Zakia Jafri case as appointed by supreme court why the credentials of Raghvan questioned when he is appointed by same court?
Left wing crusaders want to accept only what suits them, not the respect for judiciary or democratic process.Are they going to start the campaign to "save Kasab" on basis of Raju ramchandran's report??

from:  Hiren
Posted on: Feb 13, 2012 at 09:38 IST

After this turn of events regarding post Godhara & court finally ruling in favor of Narender Modi i feel this is worth writing--"kill a man-u r murderer. kill a thousand-u r conqueror. kill them all-u r GOD". IN Gujarat modi is to be prosecuted is only for making inflammatory statements rater than actually torching minorities houses...whatever someone labels that it seems almost impossible to prosecute him when SIT headed by R K Raghvan has concluded in his favor and yes this is a reality.

from:  shaleen
Posted on: Feb 12, 2012 at 14:50 IST

The fact that there are only 19 comments that have been published is a testimony to the
extent of "moderation" exercise" used on the readers' responses.
I posted a very mild criticism of the manner of portrayal which was moderated out. Most of
what has been posted is pro report and one of them has played trice in one innings.
This will not be published.

from:  Dr S Srinivasan
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 22:53 IST

Mr. Jaya Prakash - You should read the highlights of the SIT report before commenting. Mr. Modi roped in the Army within 21 hours - has any State Government done so before ? There were several Hindus killed when the State police used force to contain the riots - which has spread to several pockets across the State.

What happened in Gujarat was a spontaneous reaction to the cold-blooded murder of kar sevaks in Godhra - it is impossible for any Government to contain such mass hysteria. People should stop this blind Modi hatred and move on .... it is becoming so sickening.

from:  Arun Subbu
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 22:03 IST

In all the previous (including this one), what I found is that reporters has already assumed that Modi was guilty. So, from there point of view, SIT let off criminal not innocent. With time again and again People came up with the prejudice that Modi was criminal (even they are not believing in the official reports when it comes to Mr. Modi and shows different behavior in case of Chdambram)

I request The Hindu, Please maintain your status of being impartial, don't present everything in Hatred sense. and Please respect the official verdict. So, that only true information must be reached to the people, not the biased report.

from:  Shashi Ranjan
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 21:15 IST

Congratulations - as I expected you dont have the guts to post my earlier comment - you writers are either biased or totally ignorant and the fact that I exposed that must be making you feel insulted! Useless!

from:  Rahul
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 20:19 IST

'Ms. Jafri's husband and former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri was among 69 persons brutally murdered in Gulberg Society by saffron mobs that attacked and killed at least 1,200 Muslim men and women across the State' - this statement is wrong - it was not 1,200 muslims killed. It was 1,200 people killed of which about 30% were Hindu. This article makes it sound as if no Hindu was killed. This is either very poor research by the author or a deliberate attempt to mislead readers.

from:  Rahul
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 18:47 IST

Muslim Forces in the country led by Sonia Gandhi are working against Mr.
Narendra Modi, knowing well that Narendra Modi is the one and only one
who can challenge 'the prince of Congress' for P.M. post.

from:  Ashok Gupta
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 18:01 IST

I am confident that SIT has done the investigation properly, or they made it to look like that. But still I don't understand the DIRTY politics over here. If it had to be investigated why not run in parallel for both cases : Sabarmati Exp. case and Godhra. I feel if we do it properly then we might come to some conclusion or justice.

And all above I request all people, please don't see every thing from your biased mind/eye. Why do we still have to think like minority or OBC....? If is it related to Sabarmati burning, then see it like normal people were burnt in there or if it is Godhara riot then it has to be like human beings being murdered. So please look over the horizon of biasing.

from:  sunny
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 16:07 IST

i have read so many comments. there is mix opinions some are against
Modi and some r in favor. the thing is that people have allredy fix
there mind about modi involvement in gujrat pogrom without any
verdict. if court decisions or comments come according to them every
thing is fine. and if against..... questions raises against judiciary
system, SIT and Raghwan Honesty. Let them do there job...every body
is free to making there opinion...but that can be wrong also...and to
make it correct is not communal.

from:  Kushana
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 13:00 IST

Law and order is a state subject under the constitution. Babri Masjid demolition happened under the BJP government of Kalyan Singh in the presence of BJP leaders like LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi. The same day of Babri Masjid demolition, Kalyan Singh government was dismissed and UP was brought under central rule. The Gujarat carnage lasted for more than 2 weeks but, the BJP government at the centre did not bring Gujarat under central rule. The memoirs of President KR Narayanan vividly describe how helpless he felt in those days as President of India.

from:  Syed
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 12:18 IST

Ours is not a banana republic.We have a strong judicial system in place which does not run on the whims and fancies of any groups having a vested interests for demoralizing the democratic process of natural justice and witch hunting.The rule of law must prevail and we as a citizen of India must not see the judicial process in the case of Gujrat riots with jaundiced eyes when the supreme court of India is monitoring the matter.Riots cannot be justified.What happened in Godhra &post Godhra need equal condemnation from all groups.As a citizen of India we should also be worried and vigilant on other Riots cases which happened elsewhere like punjab-1984,Bhagalpur etc.We can't be selective on riots happened in Gujrat or elsewhere.The memory of Riots brings hatred among communities and therefore must be forgotten at the earliest.we need to move forward.

from:  JOHN
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 12:07 IST

It's a victory for an honest man. It is not only about his honesty & integrity when UPA tried everything to malign his reputation built on business acumen, superb administration & delivering promises to his people. He is immensely capable of becoming PM & India today needs him at the helm but not a coward MMS who doesn't accept any responsibility.

from:  Milind Khante
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 12:05 IST

@Anand> "Could'nt the government have mobilized more police, called the CRPF?" You are the victim of a Denial of Service attack by our Media. The SIT report states "
“The deployment of the Army commenced with effect from 11 a.m. on March 1, 2002 and the Army [personnel] had taken up their position[s] after being flown in from the forward areas within 21 hours of requisition by the State government.”The allegation that there was undue delay was therefore not established." A DoS attack is one where junk information is sent at a high rate to a system, therby prenventing the system from either "Processing Kegitimate requests" or the legitimate requests get buried under the huge pile of Junk spewed out! While many news papers did publish this fact that Modi called in the Army within 21 Hours (the Cong. Govt took over 4 days to call in the army in the previous Gujrat riots), this info was buried under huge piles of Modi hate material, which you missed.

from:  Subramani
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 11:30 IST

@ Mr.Subramani.... Understand the case well before commenting. BJP was in power in UP when the Babri Masjid incident took place. The organisers gave an assurance to the supreme court that the Masjid would not be harmed! What happened after that, every one knows! who were the organisers, every one knows! Remember... the crowd or mob what ever you call it, was MOBILISED, there lies the fault, who mobilised them and for what? In India we have this tendency of supporting a political party or its leaders and their acts blindly based on our likes and dislikes and not on merits. So long we do that, not even God can save India and its people!

from:  Jaya Prakash
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 11:28 IST

There are cases where we need to wait for credible evidences to find
whether the accused is actually guilty. But here, the culprits
themselves asserts in public their role in the crimes they have
committed to enthuse reactionary public and to turn that into
political support and yet the state could do nothing to punish them.
It is not as if only the state can punish or harm anyone. Killing is
easy. Even before the concepts of state there were injustices. They
were revenged by the victims themselves. But in a civilised society
public order and delivering justice forms an important part. The SIT's
report is very unconvincing even after the deposition of then ADGP
Sreekumar and Tehelka reports. Justice can be denied to anyone only by
risking our public order.Considering our officials, even judges as in
Ayodhya verdict, could get biased to their communities even when
performing constitutional duties and the huges damage of lives in this
case, another enquiry is required to find the guilty.

from:  Aravind
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 11:14 IST

Interesting finding indeed - particularly , the fact that it is so drastically different to what Mr.Raju Ramachandran has observed makes it even more interesting. The argument that negligence and inaction cannot constitute crime becomes unacceptable if these are done intentionally. Will the real truth behind the Gujarat violenece ever come out ? Will the perpetators of this heinous crime will ever be held accountable for what they have done ?
The answer to both these questions at this moment is "one never knows".

from:  Hariharan
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 10:58 IST

A terrible day for the country. A complete travesty of justice. A clear example that in India, if you are the authority, you can get away even with mass murder. And disgustingly, there are still plenty of Indians who glorify Narendra Modi.

from:  Balagopal P. Menon
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 10:43 IST

Though the Gujarat chief minister has been let off for want of 'prosecutable evidence'regarding his direct involvement in riot pogrom that took place immediately after more than 59 passengers of the sabarmati express were killed in a fire in godhra.The nature of the fire has not been established scientifically to a particular cause even to this day. Back then it was linked to a terror conspiracy to kill the kar sevaks and when the charred bodies were moved to Ahmedabad it resulted in making matters much worse. The implications of the recent high court remarks against the inaction of Modi's government during the initialphase of post-godhra riots and his inability to contain it leading to violence holds great significance for all heads of states in the sense that they as head of gov.can't be irresponsible and lackadaisical when it comes to protecting the lives and properties of their people, they've to discharge their official duties in an unbiased manner,more so in times of crisis.

from:  vyjayanthi
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 10:28 IST

Will our North Indian English media accept this verdict? I don't think so, as they believe in the judiciary process' only when it suits them. If our Journalists believe in a democratic system, they should conduct their "Crusade" against Mr. Modi in a democratic manner. Going by their behavior, our Journalists are no better than Football Hooligans who cannot accept their teams defeat. I feel that what happend in Gujrat is terrible, but it is the English media which gave labels to this black incident and started inventing Horror stories against Mr. Modi. I still wonder on what basis did everyone claim that Mr. Modi orchestrated these incidents. In India once mob mentality takes over, nothing can stop the mob unless you kill the mob! That would be akin to use genocide to prevent another. In these situations it is juvenille to blame just one person. If this same logic is applied to Ayodhya, then the Congress Govt. Orchestrated the Babri demolition as they were in power during that time!

from:  Subramani
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 09:51 IST

Your language is full of hatred which is unfortunate for a paper of your
status. Nor there was pogrom, nor any premeditated act as you think. It
was an outburst just like 1984. The state govt did fail in both cases
but to say it was pre planed is going too far. Dont punish Modi before
conviction. I will support hanging him if convicted, but till then show
some decency to the elected man!

from:  ajay
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 09:17 IST

It is regrettable that in our county on all controversial issues,the participants loose sight of the "central point" and go at a tangent only!The instant case is due to the complaint of a widow, whose husband an ex MP, was brutally maimed and murdered right under the nose of the police!Investigation in right earnest started after a lapse of seven years!In the meantime, important material evidences were conveniently destroyed!Yet in the recent Gujarat High Court verdict Modi was "indicted for inaction" to control the riots!SIT's contrdictory conclusion, therefore, could not be deemed tenable now!
It is not a case of group-clash or communal riots but well organised and directed "genocide of the minority community". The whole world is watching how we solve the issue!

from:  Omkar
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 08:34 IST

Indian laws and the legal system is bizarre or bewildering, to say the least. In the case of public crime such as riots and mayhem, the questions should be whether (1) The crime and riots took place (2) Whether the Chief Minister took sufficient action to prevent the crime or was he just a silent spectator. If he was a silent spectator, perhaps Modi does not deserve to be a CM.
What is this question of intent. Nonsense. Of course, Modi did not have intention to perpetrate the crime, but he has to ultimate duty to prevent the crime. He failed in his duty, which is good enough reason for him to step down. Clearly, the SIT is under pressure to let Modi off the case. What a sham!

from:  Shaun Warren
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 08:25 IST

The titel of the write up"....SIT lets Modi off riots hook" speaks volumes.The Hon'ble Court can't act with out material evidence.No doubt that sanctity of our Hon'ble courts should be welcomed and upheld sky high no matter if at all any body is left scot free for want of such evidence. But in the court of democracy voters used to act without such evidence-perhaps say on the basis of circumstantial evidence .A lesson taught and learned by both people and their elected representative respectively from time immemorial.Shall we say it is the incredible and impecable power of people and judiciary who acts as the protector of the system from geting derailed?

from:  Bose A Panicker
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 08:23 IST

The case against Modi was more of witch hunting than of any
substantial prima facie evidence. If perceived inaction or slow to
act is a criminal offence that it stand to reason that former PM
Narasimha Rao should also been proceeded against for his “Nero
playing fiddle while Rome was burning” attitude during anti Sigh
riots which rocked Delhi post Indira Gandhi’s assassination. The
Congress attitude of selective vendetta of playing vote bank politics
will fool no one.

from:  N.G. Krishnan
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 07:10 IST

It is time to leave the SIT report and probe the background of Mr.R K Ragavan, his affinity towards RSS etc. It is waste of time and tax payers money, to have entrusted such sensitive report, to one like Ragavan. Let God judge Ragavan, for his deeds. 1200 souls should haunt him for ever.

from:  Chellakumar
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 06:51 IST

' there was no material evidence to indicate that Mr. Modi had “criminal intentions” '.... Strange are the laws of the land, atleast beyond the knowledge of a common man like me! If you kill one man, there sure would be an intention behind it. There were riots here, many people killed and preperties burned and looted. No body said Modi too joined the riot with a 'URUTTUKATTAI' in hand! The case never was in that angle, even the supreme court has several times rapped Modi for his double standard approach. THAT WAS THE CASE HERE... he turning a blind eye on incidents against a particular community, may be the SIT feels it is not a criminal offence at the most a misadministration??? Whatever, I am just a common man.. and I understand LAWS ARE ONLY FOR A COMMON MAN LIKE ME, THEY ARE USELESS AND IMPOTENT AGAINST MONEY AND POWER!

from:  Jaya Prakash
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 06:42 IST

The Indian Law is complex, there are loop holes in it, which the sly utilise efficiently. Day before yesterday a judgement came that the Gujarat state had a major role in the riots and that it should bear the responisibility of reconstructing the religous buildings. The Gujarat State should mean the head of the head, that is Mr Modi and not the entire bureaucracy. There is inherent contradiction in the two judgemnets. If the State had role in the riots then Mr Modi too was part, in fact he was the leader of the State; so in that situation he should also be responsible; but now this judgement says that there is not enough evidence to prosecute him. I am confused, but whatever it is, I respect the judgement and I want the poeople to respect it.

from:  Aiman Reyaz
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 06:21 IST

Most disappointing. Absolutely. The post Godhra carnage was not just a one night frenzy, but a bloodletting that went on for more than two weeks, where people from the minority community got singled out - for some of the most egregious violence, many killed , their homes and businesses destroyed. Could'nt the government have mobilized more police, called the CRPF? If one were to give Mr. Modi the benefit of doubt, on the grounds that his government was simply overwhelmed by the reaction to torching of Sabramati express, then let us review Mr. Modi's conduct during the elections post Godhra. The open baiting of minorities with virulent speeches such as "Mian Musharaf" and "Hum Paanch, Hamaare Pachis", and more indicates where his biases lie. And if one reviews the number of cases against rioters that got prosecuted successfully, the picture is even more bleak.
We are left now with a disturbing question. Is the entire system in
collusion to protect the Parivar?

from:  Anand
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 06:07 IST

Headline sounds like SIT has let some criminal go away. As a newspaper, some time you have to be balance in your opinion. After numerous court cases, nothing has found. But still we spend so much time in digging dirt. And still we find nothing.

from:  Aks
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 03:50 IST

I am sure that the SIT would have investigated the matter throughly.

from:  krishna
Posted on: Feb 10, 2012 at 03:40 IST
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