The Ahmedabad Metropolitan Magistrate, who on Tuesday declared that the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team had not found any evidence for prosecuting Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, passed the order after going through the SIT report of 40,000-odd pages.
The SIT had filed the report in February and submitted related documents, evidence and other relevant papers last month.
Zakia Jafri, wife of the former Congress MP, Ehsan Jafri, who was among the 69 killed in the 2002 Gulberg Society massacre case, had filed a complaint in the Supreme Court against Mr. Modi and others, accusing them of a “wider conspiracy” in the riots.
The court ordered an inquiry and constituted the SIT under the chairmanship of the former CBI Director, R.K. Raghavan. The SIT submitted its final report before the Ahmedabad court as directed by the Supreme Court.
However, the SIT's advocate, R.S. Jamvuar, hinted that it was not a “total clean chit” given to all those named in Ms. Jafri's complaint. “I can't say it is a clean chit. But, there are a lot of points in the report, based on which a lot of departmental inquiries can be initiated against those who are accused in the case,” he said, asked about the details of the SIT report in respect of Mr. Modi and others.
Meanwhile, commenting on the conviction of 23 accused and the acquittal of 23 others in the Ode massacre case by a special fast track court in Anand on Monday, Mr. Raghavan said the conviction rate at 50 per cent was a “record of sorts” given that convictions in cases of riots in the country was “very few and far between.”
The Ode probe, also conducted by the SIT, achieved this, despite many prosecution witnesses turning hostile, he said. The fact that the fast track court also accepted the “criminal conspiracy theory” against the accused showed the “quality of investigation.”