SC extends time for SIT probe in Guj communal riots till Dec 31

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New Delhi, Aug 26 (UNI) The Supreme Court today extended the time till December 31, 2008, for a Special Investigation Team (SIT), headed by former CBI Director R K Raghavan, to submit its final report on whether a dozen major cases of the Gujarat communal riots required CBI investigation.

A bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam granted the extension of time when the SIT made a request for the same.

Earlier Senior Counsel K T S Tulsi, appearing for some of the accused, contended before the court that this honourable court has virtually suspended the Constitution by a single stroke and no court is prepared to consider the bail applications of the accused, as they are being told that only the apex court can do something.

This statement angered the bench and Justice Pasayat told Mr Tulsi not to raise his voice in the court and also clarified that the court has not said anything regarding the issue.

The SIT was appointed by the apex court. It comprises of three senior police officers from Gujarat, including IG Geeta Johri, and two from Uttar Pradesh.

The SIT has already submitted its interim report to the apex court.

Major cases, in which the NHRC and other petitioners are seeking a CBI enquiry include, Gulbarg Society, in which a former Congress MP was burnt alive by the rioters during the 2002 Gujarat Communal Riots, Sardarpura, Naroda Gram and Naroda Patiya.

The riots were sparked off by the Godhra train burning incident, in which over 50 Kar Sevaks, returning from Ayodhya, were charred to death in bogie No. S6.

UNI SC SBC RP AS1627

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