The Supreme Court, even while seeking the response of amicus curiae Harish Salve to the plea for reconstitution of the Special Investigation Team probing some Gujarat riot cases, expressed its displeasure at the allegation by an activist that the “SIT has been befooling courts.”
Justice D.K. Jain, heading a three-judge Bench told counsel: “Such allegations are not acceptable. This has to be expunged from the application, otherwise it would mean we are being fooled by the SIT.”
Even as the Bench, which included Justices P. Sathasivam and Aftab Alam, was perusing the progress report sent by the SIT, senior counsel Aspi Chenoy, appearing for Devendrabhai N. Pathak, said there were lapses in the investigations and pleaded for its reconstitution.
Justice Jain told counsel: “Reopening of the investigation at this juncture is not possible. So far as these nine cases are concerned, the entire investigation has been done by the SIT. It was never pointed out earlier that investigation was not done properly.”
Gujarat: reject plea
Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Gujarat, urged the court not to entertain the application as it contained a scandalous allegation. When Justice Jain expressed his displeasure, Mr. Chenoy apologised to the court for the language used in the application and said he would delete the objectionable portions.
The Bench said it would examine the application in January after receiving the amicus curiae’s response. The Bench said that from the SIT’s report it appeared that in all seven complaints received by it of threat perception to and intimidation of witnesses and victims, adequate steps had been taken for their protection, both at their residences and on court premises.
On behalf of the Centre, Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam said: “If the content of the application is anything to go by, it is a matter of concern.”
The SIT, headed by R.K. Raghavan, was set up by the Supreme Court to reinvestigate nine cases relating to the Godhra, Gulbarg Society, Naroda Gaon, Naroda Patiya and Sardarpura incidents.
Meanwhile, another Bench comprising Justices B. Sudershan Reddy and G.S. Singhvi extended till January next the stay of all proceedings in the Gujarat High Court in the case of the alleged fake encounter killing of Ishrat Jahan.
The Bench was acting on a special leave petition filed by Ishrat’s mother Shamima Kaushar, who challenged the September 9 High Court order that stayed Metropolitan Magistrate S.P. Tamang’s report, which said the June 15, 2004 incident was a fake encounter.