Mystery still surrounds the possible response of the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team's summons to question him on the 2002 communal riots in the State.
The SIT issued Mr. Modi notices earlier asking him to depose before it on March 21, but a day before the appointed date, no one has any clue about Mr. Modi's response to it.
While the sources in the Chief Minister's office is reluctant to answer any question whether Mr. Modi would appear before the SIT on Sunday, the SIT chairman, R. K. Raghavan, believed to be away in Chennai, is equally in the dark about Mr. Modi's appearance.
In a telephonic conversation, Mr. Raghavan said the SIT only received an acknowledgement from the CMO about having received the notice, but since then had not received any intimation whether he would be appearing in person or not. “We have got no response from Mr. Modi in this regard so far,” Mr. Raghavan said.
The Health Minister and the State cabinet spokesman, Jaynarayan Vyas, declined to make any comment except reiterating his earlier version that the State government and Mr. Modi would fully cooperate with the process of law.
He, however, had no idea about Mr. Modi's steps on Sunday. Home department sources were equally in the dark about the Chief Minister's decision and it was not clear what advice the legal department has given him.
Considering the preparations by the SIT, it seems the investigation team is certain that Mr. Modi would not make a personal appearance on Sunday.
“Mr. Modi may appear any time during the week following March 21,” SIT sources said interpreting the earlier notice in a different way.
The SIT sources also believed that Mr. Modi might seek clarifications from the Supreme Court during the week about the summons in the light of the Court's willingness to “re-look” at its earlier order which resulted in the SIT issuing the summons to him.
The SIT issued Mr. Modi the summons after the Supreme Court asked the SIT to “look into” the complaint filed by Ms. Zakia Jaffrey, the widow of the slain former Congress member of the Lok Sabha, Ehsan Jaffrey, who was among the 69 people killed in the Gulberg Society massacre.
However, on a petition filed by a former BJP member of the State Assembly, Kalu Maliwad, last week challenging the SIT's summons to Mr. Modi, the Supreme Court agreed to “re-look” into its earlier order, which, if accepted, would render the SIT summons null and void. The apex court, however, had not given a clear indication about the status of the SIT summons to Mr. Modi for March 21.