Allegations against the CM were not established: report

The Special Investigation Team headed by R.K. Raghavan gave a ‘clean chit' to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in May 2010 when it submitted to the Supreme Court its first report on the complaint of Zakia Jafri, whose husband Ehsan Jaffri, former Congress MP, was among the 69 persons killed in the Gulberg Housing Society riots in 2002.

The SIT, in its report, said: “In spite of the fact that ghastly and violent attacks had taken place on Muslims at Gulberg Society and elsewhere, the reaction of the government was not the type that would have been expected by anyone. The Chief Minister had tried to water down the seriousness of the situation at Gulberg Society, Naroda Patiya and other places by saying that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. However, this utterance by itself is not sufficient to make out a case against Mr. Narendra Modi [Page 69 of the report].”

On the allegation that there was undue delay in requisitioning and deployment of the Army though anti-minority violence had broken out on February 27, 2002 afternoon itself in Vadodara and Ahmedabad, the report said, “The deployment of the Army commenced with effect from 11 a.m. on March 1, 2002 and the Army [personnel] had taken up their position[s] after being flown in from the forward areas within 21 hours of requisition by the State government.” The allegation that there was undue delay was therefore not established.

It was alleged that Mr. Modi did not visit the riot-affected areas in the initial days, though he visited the Godhra railway station on February 27, 2002 itself. The report pointed out that Mr. Modi himself admitted having visited the station the same day and that he visited Gulberg Society and other affected parts of Ahmedabad only on March 5 and 6, 2002. “This possibly indicates his discriminatory attitude and the allegations stands proved.”

On the allegation that partisan investigations were conducted by the State police betraying prejudice against riot victims, the report said a number of charge sheets had been filed. As and when the accused were arrested it was always open to the investigating officer to suitably amend the same on the basis of the facts that had subsequently emerged. The report rejected the allegation saying it was not established.

On the allegation that no follow-up action was taken by the Gujarat government on the reports sent by Additional Director-General of Police R.B. Sreekumar about anti-minority stance of the administration, the report said the State government had made available the relevant files. It could not be said that no action was taken and the allegations were therefore not substantiated.

After the SIT submitted its first report in May 2010, the Supreme Court felt that the inferences of its chief in the report did not match the findings of the SIT. Hence it sought the comments of amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran. The amicus disagreed with certain conclusions in the SIT report and gave certain suggestions and thereafter the SIT conducted further probe and submitted its report. On September 12, 2011 the Supreme Court asked the SIT to place the final probe report before the magistrate's court. It is now up to the trial court to decide the future course of action.

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