The Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi got crucial legal relief when a city court on Thursday rejected the petition of Zakia Jafri against the closure report of the Special Investigation Team giving a clean chit to the Gujarat Chief Minister in a case relating to the 2002 communal riots.
In a one-line order delivered before a packed courtroom, Metropolitan Magistrate B.J.Ganatra stated that he rejected Jafri’s protest petition, but said she could approach a higher court.
Ms. Jafri is the wife of Ehsan Jafri, a Congress parliamentarian who was killed along with 69 others in the Gulberg Society massacre in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002.
She had filed a protest petition in the court against the SIT report, which found no evidence against the Chief Minister and several other functionaries of the State government named by her in her husband’s killing. Ms. Jafri wanted the court to order the filing of a chargesheet against Mr. Modi and the others she had named.
The judgment was expected at 11 am but was delivered only around 4.30 pm. Along with Ms. Jafri, a battery of lawyers, journalists and others waited for the order the whole day.
Soon after, an elated Mr. Modi tweeted “Satyamev jayate”. On a pre-scheduled programme, Mr. Modi was on his way to Goa to attend the marriage of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s son.
“It [the judgment] has proved that truth holds together and falsehood falls part and fabricated evidence cannot replace the truth,” senior party leader Arun Jaitley told journalists in Delhi.
Reacting to the verdict from Chennai, the Special Investigation Team headed by former CBI Director R.K. Raghavan said the “SIT's stand has been vindicated. This has been a professionally satisfying experience.”
‘Disappointing but not disheartened’
A tearful Ms. Jafri said she would appeal the verdict. “We propose to knock at the doors of a higher court,” she said.
Teesta Setalwad of Citizens for Justice and Peace, who had backed Ms. Jafri’s case, said the order was disappointing, but they would not be disheartened by it.
Ms. Jafri’s lawyer Mihir Desai described the order as “a temporary relief for Modi” and said: “We will be back with an appeal very soon”.
SIT lawyer R.S. Jamuar said the one-line order of the court has proved that, “[N]o criminal case now can be initiated against Modi and other accused. SIT's impartiality has been confirmed.”