The Special Public Prosecutor and his deputy, appearing for the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team before the special court trying the 2002 Gulberg Society massacre case, have submitted their resignations, throwing the entire proceedings haywire.
R.K. Shah and his deputy Nainaben Bhatt sent in their resignations on Tuesday to SIT chairman R.K. Raghavan, with a copy to the Gujarat Legal Department, requesting that they be relieved of the responsibilities at the earliest.
Ms. Bhatt confirmed that both had put in their papers, but she refused to divulge the reasons on grounds of the matter being sub judice as they would have to appear before the special court on March 8 unless a decision on their resignations was taken by then.
While SIT sources confirmed having received their resignations Mr. Raghavan refused to comment.
Ms. Bhatt said she and Mr. Shah were not “comfortable with the trial and the way the things are progressing.” There were “issues with both the trial and with the SIT.”
Plea for shifting trial
Besides, Mr. Shah had differences with Special Judge B.U. Joshi. A number of witnesses and riot victims had already petitioned the Gujarat High Court for shifting the Gulberg massacre trial from his court. As many as 69 people, including the former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, were killed in the February 28, 2002 massacre.
With the Supreme Court scheduled to consider on March 15 the restructuring of the SIT on a petition filed by the Mumbai-based social activist, Teesta Setalvad, secretary of the Citizens for Justice and Peace, the resignations of the public prosecutors could embarrass the SIT.