SC confirms clean chit for PM Modi in 2002 Gujarat riots case
New Delhi, Jun 24: Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a plea filed by Zakia Jafri, widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, challenging the clean chit given by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to the then state CM Narendra Modi and several others in the 2002 Gujarat riots.
The apex court upheld magistrate's order rejecting Zakia Jafri's protest petition against closure report filed by SIT.
"We uphold the decision of magistrate in accepting the SIT report and the decision to reject protest petition. This appeal is devoid of merits and dismissed accordingly," a bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar held.
The court appreciated the SIT for the "indefatigable work" done in the 2002 Gujarat riots cases, saying it has come out with "flying colours unscathed" and there is no hesitation in accepting its opinion that no case has been made out to indicate a larger conspiracy to cause or precipitate mass violence against the minority community in the state.
Ehsan Jafri, the former MP, was among the 68 people killed at Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002, a day after the S-6 Coach of the Sabarmati Express was burnt at Godhra killing 59 people and triggering riots in Gujarat.
Zakia Jafri had challenged the SIT's clean chit to 64 people, including Modi who was Gujarat chief minister in 2002. Her petition had challenged the high court's October 5, 2017 order rejecting her plea against the SIT decision.
On December 9 last year, the apex court had reserved its verdict on the plea. Except for Zakia Jafri's petition, nobody had "raised a finger" against it for the probe conducted in the 2002 Gujarat riots, the SIT had said during the hearing in the top court.
Her counsel had earlier said her complaint of 2006 was that there was "a larger conspiracy where there was bureaucratic inaction, police complicity, hate speeches and unleashing of violence".
On February 27, 2002, 59 people were killed when the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was burnt at Godhra, triggering the riots in the state.
On February 8, 2012, the SIT filed a closure report giving a clean chit to now Prime Minister Modi and 63 others, including senior government officials, saying there was "no prosecutable evidence" against them. Zakia Jafri filed a petition in the apex court in 2018.
The plea also maintained that after the SIT gave a clean chit in its closure report before a trial judge, Zakia Jafri had filed a protest petition which was dismissed by the magistrate without considering "substantiated merits". The high court in its October 2017 order had said the SIT probe was monitored by the Supreme Court.
However, it had partly allowed her petition as far as its demand for a further investigation was concerned, saying she can approach an appropriate forum, including the magistrate's court, a division bench of the high court, or the Supreme Court seeking further investigation.