SIT defends investigation into 2002 Godhra riots cases

Allegations of a ‘larger conspiracy’ baseless, it says claiming it did a ‘thorough’ job

November 24, 2021 10:46 pm | Updated 10:50 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Supreme Court of India. File

Supreme Court of India. File

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Wednesday in the Supreme Court defended its investigation into the Godhra riots cases of 2002 .

Appearing before a Bench led by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said the SIT, which was appointed by the apex court, did a “thorough” job in probing the riots.

Mr. Rohatgi said the allegations of a “larger conspiracy” behind the riots was baseless. The role of every accused was looked into by the SIT. Accusations of “collaboration” by it were reckless, Mr. Rohatgi submitted.

“There is no material to conclude that there was any other conspiracy than the cases that are being tried,” the senior advocate argued.

He said several cases had been re-opened and investigated again. Chargesheets were filed.

“Allegations had been flying thick and fast against the State police… That is why the Supreme Court appointed the SIT. We did our job, someone may agree, somebody may not,” Mr. Rohatgi said.

The senior lawyer said no FIR had been registered on the basis of Ms. Jafri’s complaint of a larger conspiracy .

In an earlier hearing, the apex court had observed that its September 12, 2011 order, had merely directed the SIT to “look into” the material brought forth by Ms. Jafri and file a final report before the magistrate court concerned in Gujarat.

The Bench had even said the September 2011 order appeared to restrict itself to the Gulberg Society case, which involved the killing of Ms. Jafri’s husband by a mob, and not any “larger conspiracy” allegedly tracing its roots to the highest echelons of power in Gujarat led by Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Following the apex court order in 2011, the SIT had gone on to file a closure report in February 2012. It had given a clean chit to Mr. Modi, and 63 others, including senior officials, saying there was “no prosecutable evidence” against them. A “protest petition” filed by Ms. Jafri against the clean chit was dismissed by the magistrate. The Gujarat High Court too, in October 2017, refused to entertain Ms. Jafri, who had moved the apex court.

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