Gujarat riots: Modi says ready to appear before SIT panel

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Ahmedabad, Mar 27 (ANI): Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi may appear before the Special Investigation Team (SIT) for interrogation on the 2002 Gujarat riots case on Saturday.

Sources said Modi has verbally responded to the SIT request by asserting that he is ready to appear provided a certain decorum is maintained by the investigators interrogating him on March 27.

There are reports that Modi's interrogation may not take place inside the SIT office for security reasons and he may be questioned at a place mutually agreed by him and the SIT.

In a strong statement issued earlier after he was reported to have kept the panel waiting, Modi said: "It is a matter of grave concern and needs investigation as to why and who started spreading lies that Narendra Modi has been summoned by SIT on March 21."

In his statement, Modi pointed out that March 21 happened to be "a Sunday and a public holiday."

"The purveyors of lies did not even bother to check whether the SIT officers appointed by Supreme Court were present in Gujarat on March 21," Modi said.

Modi alleged that the date March 21, was given out by "some vested interests and as part of the effort to interfere in the due process of law."

Modi said in his statement that he would respond to the SIT, "Fully respecting the law and keeping in view the dignity of the body appointed by the Supreme Court."

The SIT, which is headed by former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director K R Raghavan, is looking into nine cases of the 2002 Gujarat riots. he SIT has asked Modi to appear before it in connection with the Gulbarg Society carnage case.

Modi has been named as one of the 63 accused in the petition filed by Zakiya Jafri, the widow of the Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who was killed by rioters in Gulbarg society of Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002.

In the case filed in the Supreme Court, Zakiya stated that Modi and 62 others had conspired during the riots, and that senior ministers had ordered bureaucrats and policemen not to respond to calls for help. Over a thousand people died in the Gujarat communal riots.

The Gujarat High Court has issued a notice to the Nanavati Commission asking it to explain, by April 1, whether it too would summon Narendra Modi as part of its inquiry into the 2002 riots. (ANI)

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