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Updated: May 9, 2012 02:05 IST

Proceed against Modi for Gujarat riots: amicus

Special Correspondent
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A file photo of senior advocate Raju Ramachandran.
The Hindu A file photo of senior advocate Raju Ramachandran.

Sanjiv Bhatt's claim about CM's order to allow Hindus to vent anger must be tested in court, says Raju Ramachandran

The Supreme Court's amicus curiae in the Zakia Jafri case concluded that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi can be proceeded against for various offences during the 2002 riots, including promoting enmity among different groups.

On Monday, the Special Investigation Team appointed by the Supreme Court to probe the complaint that there had been official complicity in the violence which claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, released all documents connected with the case to Ms. Jafri and her co-petitioner, Citizens for Justice and Peace. The papers — presented to the apex court at various stages and subsequently handed over to the trial court when it filed a closure report — ran into 20,000 pages, the CJP said, and included the SIT's reports as well as the two reports of the amicus, Raju Ramachandran, filed in January and July 2011 in response to specific directions by the apex court.

Though sources had earlier briefed The Hindu on the broad contents of the amicus' report, its text has only now been made public.

In his report, Mr. Ramachandran strongly disagreed with a key conclusion of the R.K. Raghavan-led SIT: that IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt was not present at a late-night meeting of top Gujarat cops held at the Chief Minister's residence in the wake of the February 27, 2002 Godhra carnage.

It has been Mr. Bhatt's claim — made in an affidavit before the apex court and in statements to the SIT and the amicus — that he was present at the meeting where Mr. Modi allegedly said Hindus must be allowed to carry out retaliatory violence against Muslims.

Mr. Ramachandran said there was no clinching material available in the pre-trial stage to disbelieve Mr. Bhatt, whose claim could be tested only in court. “Hence, it cannot be said, at this stage, that Shri Bhatt should be disbelieved and no further proceedings should be taken against Shri Modi.”

Significantly, the amicus was of the view that in itself Mr. Modi's alleged statement was an offence under the law and he could be prosecuted under various Sections of the IPC: “In my opinion, the offences which can be made out against Shri Modi, at this prima facie stage, are offences, inter alia, under Sections 153 A (1) (a) & (b) (statements promoting enmity between communities), 153B(1) (c) (imputations and assertions prejudicial to national interest), 166 (public servant disobeying a direction of the law with intent to cause injury) and 505 (2) (statements conducing to public mischief) of the IPC.

In its reports, the SIT had dismissed Mr. Bhatt as an unreliable witness on several grounds: He had been silent for nine years; he had “an axe to grind” against the State; his language on what Mr. Modi said was not exact; he had tried to tutor witnesses; and his claims about attending a meeting called by Mr. Modi for 10. 30 a.m. on February 28, 2002 had been belied by his call records which showed he was in Ahmedabad at that time (Mr. Bhatt told The Hindu, two meetings took place on February 28, 2002, one in the forenoon and the other in the afternoon).

The SIT also said Mr. Bhatt's presence at the February 27 meeting had not been corroborated by other participants.

In his final report, the amicus, however, said: “The stage for believing or disbelieving a witness arises after trial i.e. once the entire evidence is placed before the court for its consideration. It would not be correct to conclude, at this stage, that Shri Bhatt should be completely disbelieved unless there is clinching material available to the contrary…”

Further, “the question whether Shri Bhatt was present at the meeting ... and whether Mr. Modi had indeed made such a statement, can only be decided by a court of law ...”

In Mr. Ramachandran's view, two specific allegations in Ms. Jafri's omnibus complaint, were very serious: Mr. Modi's instructions to police officials at the February 27, 2002 meeting. And, secondly, the positioning of two cabinet ministers at the State and Ahmedabad city police control rooms during the anti-Muslim violence.

The amicus contested the grounds laid out by the SIT for disregarding Mr. Bhatt's testimony. He said though he was conscious that Mr. Bhatt had not behaved like “a detached police officer” and had actively strategised with others, he was of the opinion that this background did not detract from Mr. Bhatt's testimony: “In my opinion, despite the aforesaid background, it does not appear very likely that a serving police officer would make such a serious allegation against Mr. Modi, the Chief Minister of the State, without some basis. There is no documentary material of any nature whatsoever which can establish that Shri Bhatt was not present in the meeting on 27.02.2002.”

Mr. Ramachandran pointed out that the SIT had chosen to believe the words of senior officers despite acknowledging in its preliminary report that they could not be relied upon. According to the SIT, some of the officers had long retired and claimed loss of memory as they did not want to get into controversy. Some others had received good post-retirement benefits and felt obliged to the “present Chief Minister and therefore their testimony lacks credibility.”

Mr. Ramachandran, then, went on to state why, in his opinion, Mr. Bhatt could have attended the crucial meeting. Two senior Intelligence officers of the time, IB chief G.C. Raiger and Deputy Commissioner (Political and Communal) P.C. Upadhyay were both on leave on February 27, 2002. Mr. Raiger had said that Mr. Bhatt had accompanied him in the past to meetings called by Mr. Modi, though he would stand outside with files: “Thus it is quite possible that Shri Bhatt was directed to attend the meeting on 27.02.2002 at the residence of the Chief Minister. The phone call records do not contradict the statement given by Shri Bhatt to the SIT. Considering the important and emergent nature of the meeting, the relative “juniority” of Shri Bhatt need not have come in the way of his attending the meeting … the context (was) of an emergency meeting called at short notice in response to an escalating situation …”

In its preliminary report, the SIT had remarked negatively on the placement of two ministers I.K. Jadeja and Ashok Bhatt, in the control rooms, saying “there is every likelihood that this (their presence) had at least his (Mr. Modi's) tacit approval. However, the investigation team held subsequently that the presence of Mr. Bhatt (who has since passed away) could not be established. The SIT also came to the conclusion that the minister/ministers did not interfere in any manner with the functioning of the police.

The amicus disputed the SIT's changed version on Minister Ashok Bhatt's presence and pointed out that the SIT's first report was based on Mr. Bhatt's own statement that he had visited the control room on February 28, 2002.

He also argued that the ministers' very presence at the control rooms could have influenced senior police officials, and this aspect needed examination during the trial: “However, there is the possibility that the very presence of these 2 Ministers had a dampening effect on the senior police officials, i.e. the DGP and the Commissioner of Police, Ahmedabad, if indeed, Shri Modi had made a statement (as alleged) the previous night. This is again one of the circumstances which can be taken into account and examined during the course of the trial.”

Mr. Ramachandran said though there was “absence of material” to indicate that the two ministers had acted on Mr. Modi's alleged anti-Muslim instructions of February 27, 2002, “the very presence of political personalities unconnected with the Home Portfolio at the Police Control Rooms is circumstantial evidence of the Chief Minister directing, requesting or allowing them to be present. As already noted, the Chairman, SIT himself found that their positioning in the Police Control Rooms had, at least, the Chief Minister's ‘tacit approval'.”

The amicus, however, agreed with the SIT on a few of its findings. He accepted the SIT's conclusion that Haren Pandya could not have been present at the February 27 meeting. He also accepted the SIT's conclusion, “with regard to the steps taken by Chief Minister Shri Modi to control the riots in Ahmedabad.”

Ramchandan is not alone some one is behind him that is enough, And he thinks he is very smart

from:  ramesh
Posted on: May 24, 2012 at 19:14 IST

Narendra Modi is liable to be prosecuted for abetting mass murders,
rapes and other offences perpetrated by mobs post-Godhra incident.
There is prima facie evidence of his involvement. His MLAs were caught
on camera confessing that Modi gave them three days time to carry out
vengeance against Muslims. SIT led by Raghavan behaved as if it was
vested with the duty to exonerate Modi instead of finding facts.
Amicus curie is right in disagreeing with the SIT report. The entire
world knows that Modi masterminded the riots. In any polity ruled by
rule of law he ought to have been prosecuted. If there is evidence or
lack of it can be looked into in a trial conducted by a court not by
SIT. The Supreme Court has instead of directing recording of FIR
against Modi and others created a bad precedent by getting the
allegations investigated by SIT. Modi should be treated equally by the
law. An investigation can be done only after registration of FIR and
not otherwise.

from:  Syed Jamaluddin Ali
Posted on: May 11, 2012 at 06:58 IST

SIT exonerates Modi,the amicus curiae implicates.Mr Raghavan, a person
of impeccable integrity,headed the SIT.Mr Raju,the AM,has actually based
his observations on false assumptions.Amicus curiae was biased in his
approach.He has not acted in the true spirit.It does not require a legal
brain to nail him.
Either way Mr Modi gains.Even impartial persons see the deep rooted
conspiracy against Modi.He is patiently bearing all the politically
motivated tirades.At the same time he is toiling hard to serve and develop Gujarat.
What happened in Gujarat,Godhra and post Godhra,was shameful.The present
political witch hunting will not heal the wounds. On the contrary the
communal divide will increase.Amicus Curiae has preciously worked for
this.

from:  S.Srinivasan
Posted on: May 8, 2012 at 19:22 IST

Riots may happen. But the question is whether Mr.Modi, as the CM of Gujarat, has ever given a satifactory explanation of why the rioters were able to inflict gruesome violence on a hapless population without hinderance for many days. What exactly prevented the state's security apparatus from swinging into action immediately to stop this carnage when it knew for sure that there will be communal violence after the train burning? If he hasn't given a satisfactory answer, then his role in the violence needs to be investigated.

from:  Vineeth
Posted on: May 8, 2012 at 14:08 IST

The SIT appointed by the Supreme Court has already concluded that there are no grounds
for a case against Modi. Now this. It seems that by definition Modi is guilty. The Human
Rights Industry has started with the axiomatic assumption that Modi is guilty and proceeds to
interpret everything is that light. We have dwelt enough on this issue. The appropriate couts have examined it and given their views. Now the Huma Rights wallahs should let the matter rest. Else, they are denying Modi his basic right to be considered innocent since he has not been proven guilty. Or is it a fact that they have flexible human rights criteria - different ones for different sets of people, as seems the case?

from:  Muralita
Posted on: May 8, 2012 at 12:24 IST

Furthermore, i think it was brilliant on the side of SC to have two very distinguished people give differing opinions on the event and then SC can take a decision after going through both.

But people above need not worry at all, just like Congress is still ruling even after all the riots and scams they caused, BJP would also keep doing the same. They will become the next Congress. It only pains me to think that we common people have to bear the brunt of it.

from:  Prasanth Balakrishnan
Posted on: May 8, 2012 at 11:48 IST

I dont get it... Congress propogated 4 riots and got away so BJP is also entitled to conduct 4 riots and they will be forgiven for that... Is that the logic? Everyone above says why are they raking up a 10 year old incident. Ask the people who were burnt in the train and then those who were raped and killed in the riot. For them its not simply a "10 year old incident". For them its an event that turned left them homeless, snatched their livelihoods, and left an unforgettable scar on their minds forever. And i don't care even if it is a 100 year old incident but truth has to come out.

I need no proof or anyone to tell me to come to the conclusion that Modi favoured the riots. Its very clear from his and his party's subsequent statements that he was behind it all the way. Now when its interfering with his political future he is feeling he shouldn't have got into it. He may turn Gujarat into a Newyork or Paris but still he cannot wash off the sins of all these killings.

from:  Prasanth Balakrishnan
Posted on: May 8, 2012 at 11:30 IST

The Supreme Court's amicus curiae in the Zakia Jafri case is now
reported to have concluded that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi can
be proceeded against for various offences during the 2002 riots,
including promoting enmity among diafferent groups. MR. Raju
Ramachandran is an amicus curie. His observations have come on Sanjay
Bhartt's accusations of Mr. Modi. Let this be proved.

from:  SRAVANA RAMACHANDRAN
Posted on: May 8, 2012 at 11:19 IST

Godhara issue is now nothing but the fun of hindus and muslims and their religious sentiments. Now it is a battle between political parties mainly between two major ones for vote bank politics.

from:  Santosh
Posted on: May 8, 2012 at 10:58 IST

It is painful to see the propaganda against Mr. Modi which is being done by the collective forces of Congress party, the so-called NGO's with vested interest, and media houses on the payroll of Congress. Gujarat is the first state where people are being tried and punished for riots, there is no example in the history of independent India where rioters have been punished. The Congress party which is accusing Mr. Modi has failed to give justice to the victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Bhagalpur riots, 1993 riots, and many others under its rule. At least in Modi's Gujarat the victims are getting justice. So people doing such a propaganda should be ashamed of themselves, and if they have guts then they should openly disclose the names of their political masters.

from:  Chandershekhar
Posted on: May 8, 2012 at 09:01 IST

Mr Raju Ramachandran report for criminal proceedings is based on the alleged statement of Mr Sanjeev Bhatt. Now its interesting to see that
whether the Supreme Court will reject SIT report that already has
taken account of both Mr. Bhatt version and Mr Raju's report.
Legally analysing I dont think there will be any Criminal Proceedings
case against Mr Narendra Modi by SC. SC wont set a precedent where on
basis of 1 IPS officer statement, criminal proceedings against a chief
minister starts. It will open a Pandora box in states with very
extreme political oppositions such as TamilNadu

from:  Aditya
Posted on: May 8, 2012 at 08:58 IST

SIT took almost 10 years to complete its investigations and present the report, now how far we, as a country want to go to keep on digging into the riots? Can we ever finish anything conclusively and than get going with the next challenge? If you talk of lawyers even the Prime Minister or Home Minister of this coutry can also be charge sheeted. Has SIT found Mr Modi guilty it would have been a different story and no one should have supported or defended Mr Modi. It is time when political rivals of Mr Modi stop witch hunting for his alleged role on 2002 riots while conveniently forgetting their own role in much worse 1984 anti-sikh riots in the national capital, and Mr Modi should also stop playing politics on issue on NCTC and reach out to Muslims of his state. We must keep national security and security of all our citizens above party politics. There are more than enough areas where political parties can slug it out.

from:  Rohit
Posted on: May 8, 2012 at 08:10 IST

Is there any Indian politician that cannot be booked for " promoting enmity among different groups " ? It is the regular business of our politicians to promote and even inflame enmity among groups for electoral advantage.It is therefore a bit over the top for Mr.Ramachandran to level this charge against Mr.Narendra Modi that too on the evidence of a person like Mr.Sanjiv Bhatt,who has a huge axe to grind.

from:  Vishnumohan Tanguturi
Posted on: May 8, 2012 at 06:47 IST

It’s time to move on. How much more national time and money should we all spend to find non-exist Skeleton. Let give attention to current generation's issue on rampage corruption.

from:  Akshay
Posted on: May 8, 2012 at 03:38 IST

He may have done some things unacceptable. But honestly think about the current situation of affairs in India. It is critically important for India that he is up there to be a PM to rescue India from going down the drain.
Please leave him alone. There are a million politicians that have got away with wrong deeds and Mr Modi has done a a lot more right and lot more good than bad to the country. We must make sure he is the next PM else India would lose out to a lot other mediocre competitors in the world.

from:  Pradeep
Posted on: May 8, 2012 at 03:04 IST

The Godra trial strikes a contrast from the rest in that the loose ends which had not met in the earlier investigations, had given reprieve to the offenders so far.The can of worms opened through the present report of Amicus curiae which was constituted by the Supreme Court to plumb the truth to render justice to the families of slain muslims, points its accusing fingers towards Modi for the failure of his government to protect minorities.It is a bolt from the blue for the BJP circle which may tend to blow up the contradictions now, taking cover under the former SIT report. Willy-nilly Modi is caught in the web of lingering apprehensions.Whether the political reserves of sort may hit a road block for Modi,the contender in the race for the topjob is yet to be seen.

from:  C.Chandrasekaran
Posted on: May 7, 2012 at 23:12 IST

To a lay person the mass madness against sikhs at Delhi and the macabre attack on muslims of Gujarat are both clear cases of State supported atrocities.
But, our legal system will demand proof and proof will never be possible.
Gujarat burned(selectively targetted muslim shops and houses)for atleast 3 days with out a symbol of rule of law. That there was a state sanction (unstated, undeclared)for the attack on muslims was clear to one and all.
That there was a macabre sense of victory and pride that the muslims had been taught a lesson they would never forget aong most Gujaratis was even more shocking. All this SIT, Supreme Court, BJP Spokespersons denials ctc are of no relevance....all this should stop...both Sikh and Muslim aberrations should be forgotten as a streak of madness and we shall move forward to establish a secular,functioning,benign democracy. For sure Modi has to a great extent made good by providing a Governance which has benefitted one and all.

from:  N Nagarajan
Posted on: May 7, 2012 at 23:06 IST

Mr. Ragavan is an experienced and distinguished police officer and when he himself has exonerated Modi what is use of going on and on on this issue? Some vote bank politicians may be behind this issue and they want to keep it live upto January 2013

from:  jagan
Posted on: May 7, 2012 at 21:25 IST

I do not understand why this investigation against Mr.Modi is being prolonged so much even after more than 10 years. Why can't our judicial system study the matter thoroughly and deliver a verdict. I think its mainly the political motive rather than communal issue here. Definitely the majority of people in Gujarat like Modi and that's why he is in power for more than 10 years now. This factor has to be considered while making any accusations against him. I do not think congress party can make any gains using this issue in Gajarat or elsewhre in India. So they should concentrate on DEVELOPMENT rather than POLITICISING a 10 year old communal incident.

from:  PRAKASH SAVANUR
Posted on: May 7, 2012 at 19:51 IST

Did the amicus curae find any substantial evidence to corroborate Sanjiv
Bhatt's statement? If so, where is the evidence? Else Narendra Modi
cannot be convicted. From the statement of the amicus curae, it appears
that there is no evidence to corroborate Sanjiv Bhatt's statement. I
thought Narendra Modi was being accused of dereliction and not creating
enmity. From the statements, it appears that there is no evidence for
the same.

from:  Siva Bhaskaran
Posted on: May 7, 2012 at 19:29 IST

If supreme court appoints an SIT and it also appoints an Amicus curiae, can they not discuss with their individual findings and come up with one report? Why do we have to go through this contradiction in the findings of 2 honourable gentlemen?

from:  R Ramanujam
Posted on: May 7, 2012 at 19:11 IST

There seems to be a slight mistake. Amicus curiae means friend of court
and not advisor to court.

from:  Rohit Muraleedharan
Posted on: May 7, 2012 at 18:59 IST

Supreme court shouldn't be entertaining any more allegations on Shri Narendra Modi. In my opinion the SIT team should have carried out a thorogh analysis in their case study and have put the facts in front of the court of law. He has been doing a wonderful job in promoting harmony and brotherhood b/n the people of Gujarat.

from:  Bharath
Posted on: May 7, 2012 at 18:56 IST

A massacre of such a magnitude, hundreds of people burnt alive, and the pogrom continues for 2 mths,do we really need any thing more for proecutig Narendra Modi? It will be rape of Indian constitution if we don't.

from:  jamshedji butchwala
Posted on: May 7, 2012 at 18:40 IST

>>> in my opinion, despite the aforesaid background (SIT rejecting Mr. Bhatt’s claims), it does not appear very likely that a serving police officer would make such a serious allegation against Shri Modi, the Chief Minister of the State, without some basis”. This is amicus curiae's personal opinion. Has this opinion been supported by evidences? The court works on evidence, it does not work on personal opinions.
Some people are working day and night since last 10 years to trap Narendra Modi. Despite their continuous efforts, no one till date has found even in iota of evidence against Modi. Only a few days ago, the honourable Supreme Court has acquitted Modi. We hear reports of people being sentenced for 2002 riots by our Courts, but nothing has been done against culprits of 1984 till date. At least now, these seculars and NGO should stop hatred against Modi.

from:  R. Satish
Posted on: May 7, 2012 at 18:36 IST

Why is there no investigation on Sabarmathi train burning and why is
nobody being held responsible for that karsevak buring episode ?
This is biased justice.

from:  S.N. Ramachandran
Posted on: May 7, 2012 at 18:24 IST

Burning of Train..31 convicted. Gujarat State should have arrested them or taken swift action after Godhara burning. DM/IAS should have ordered arrests immediately.
Letting spread right wing to rape kill and loot to the entire state and calling election within 1 year is pure politics. Its a big conspracy which should be investigated by soctland yard from Godra train burinig to the riots. Biased Gujarat police investigation under right wing state government will not get the truth out.

from:  harvinder
Posted on: May 7, 2012 at 18:21 IST

It is a contradictory report about riots ie post Godhra incidents.
During Laloji period of railway ministry it has been pointed out by
Judicial probe about fire in karasevak compartment has been done by
karasevak due to cooking or short circuit. How it will be accepted so
many reports against one government which has been ruling so many
years with a significant progress in all respect.What about riots in
delhi during 1984?. It is a political battle. we should look future
and person should be ponished for riots and killing of the innocent
people

from:  purna chandra swain
Posted on: May 7, 2012 at 18:07 IST

Mr. Sanjiv Bhatt had clearly made statements about Mr. Narendra Modi's
partial stand and about the inaction at the time of a contingency which ended in a disaster. There was no reason not to believe this honest and brave Police Officer. And there were many comments against Mr. Modi's excuses of his responsibility. Finally the amicus curiae's report has come out as relief to the eagerly observing people of the whole nation.

from:  Das Oravanthuruth
Posted on: May 7, 2012 at 18:07 IST

The amicus curiae, is assuming that the police officer cannot make
allegations against the CM. In India anybody can make any allegations
against anyone and get away with it. During UP election propaganda so
many congress leaders have made statement on reservation for muslims
and got away with it. Are those statements not creating enmity between
two groups or two religions?
India has got so many intellectuals who always have diverse opinion on
any issues and produce volumes of reports and opinions which finally
goes to garbage.

from:  Ram
Posted on: May 7, 2012 at 18:05 IST

The same Raju Ramachandran,amicus curaei said Kasab is not given fair
trial.What can we expect from him.

from:  CA Satish Shetty
Posted on: May 7, 2012 at 17:55 IST

We all know what value the report of Amicus Curaie carries in the court. This is the report by the same person who has exonerated Kasab in his report. As usual, The Hindu, led by other "secular" brigades, seized upon the report without even underscoring its insignificance. This highlights the bias and prejudice of the media towards one individual.

from:  Ritesh
Posted on: May 7, 2012 at 17:40 IST
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