Zakia Jafri wife of Ahsan Jafri who was killed in the post-Godhra riots in 2002, on Thursday claimed there was evidence that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi asked the police administration, at a meeting on the night of February 27, 2002, to allow Hindu backlash to the Godhra train-burning incident.
According to her counsel Mihir Desai, this was testified by the statement of slain minister Haren Pandya before the Concerned Citizens Tribunal (May 2002), comprising Justice P. Sawant and Justice Hosbet Suresh as well as by his father Vithalbhai Pandya before a Special Investigation Team. The advocate said this was also testified by the statement of Sanjiv Bhatt, then DCP-Intelligence to SIT, and R.B. Sreekumar, then ADGP (SRP).
“This evidence is valid and needs to be tried in court as it amounts to a head of state cohesively orchestrating a conspiracy to paralyse the police and administration from performing their constitutional duties. Amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran, in both his interim report (January 20, 2011) and final report (July 25, 2011), also clearly stated that Mr. Modi should be tried before a court of law,” Mr. Desai told a court.
Mr. Desai claimed that two of the six persons present at the meeting — Svarnakantha Verma, former ACS, deputing for Chief Secretary G. Subba Rao and Anil Mukim, officer-on-special-duty to the Chief Minister — had clearly stated that Cabinet ministers were also present at this meeting.
He said that only those senior administrators and bureaucrats who are co-accused in the criminal complaint of Zakia Jafri — then DGP K. Chakravarthi; then Ahmedabad Commissioner of Police P.C. Pande; then Home Secretary K. Nityanandam; Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Ashok Narayan; P.K. Mishra, then Additional Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister — had stated that no politicians were present at the meeting.
Mr. Desai wondered how SIT could hold that the case was unfit to go to trial when a retired Supreme Court judge (P.B. Sawant) and High Court judge (Hosbet Suresh) gave statements about Haren Pandya’s deposition, his father made a statement before SIT and two persons present at the meeting said that Cabinet Ministers were present there.
According to Mr. Desai, both Justices Sawant and Suresh had also stated that other officers like Vinod Mall, Himanshu Bhatt and Samiullah Ansari from Gujarat also deposed before them and spoke about “illegal instructions from the top”. He said SIT failed to record statements of two of the three “and while they recorded Mall’s statement, they conspicuously did not ask him about this critical information.” The advocate was arguing for Zakia Jafri, who has filed a protest petition against the SIT having given a clean chit to Mr. Modi in the 2002 riots.