New Delhi, Mar 25 : The Supreme Court today asked the Gujarat Government to re-investigate some of the post-Godhra communal riot cases by constituting a five-member Special Investigation Team (SIT). It also asked for the report to be submitted within three months.
A three-member bench of the apex court, comprising Justice Arijit Pasayat, Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Aftab Alam said it would pass the necessary orders on Wednesday for constituting the SIT.
The five-member SIT will comprise three senior IPS officers from Gujarat, Gita Johri, Sivananad Jha and Ashish Bhatia, besides retired CBI Director R.K. Raghavan and former DGP C.B. Satpathy.
The SIT would record the statements of those witnesses who have not been examined till now and would have the power to recall witnesses.
About 10 cases relating to rioting in seven places, including Godhra where 81 people were killed, Gulbarga Society where 68 were killed, Naroda Patia where over 100 were killed, Sardarpur where 34 were killed and Best Bakery where 14 burnt alive are expected to be reinvestigated.
The apex court indicated its intention to constitute the SIT after hearing Amicus Curiae and senior counsel Harish Salve and the Gujarat Government's senior counsel Mukul Rohatagi for over an hour.
Gujarat witnessed communal riots between February and May of 2002. The riots broke out after 58 people were burnt alive in a coach of the Sabarmathi Express in Godhra on February 27, following an altercation between members of the two communities.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had filed the petition seeking transfer of the trial of the riots' cases outside Gujarat and a re-investigation by an independent agency like the CBI after several witnesses turned hostile amidst allegations of threat, coercion and inducement to derail the investigation.
According to official figures over 1,000 people were killed in the violence. However, rights groups and NGOs put the figure higher, at 2000. Over 1.5 lakh people were displaced during the riots.