Court upholds probe clearing PM over 2002 riots

  • Court upholds probe clearing PM over 2002 riots

Court upholds probe clearing PM over 2002 riots

Modi and 59 others, including senior state officials, were named in allegations by Jafri of a larger conspiracy behind the riots in Gujarat, western India, in 2002, when Modi was newly appointed chief minister. "The court doesn't believe in the larger conspiracy theory propounded by the petitioners as the Supreme Court has monitored the investigation", Justice Gokani said. Her husband, a former MP, was among 68 people killed in Ahmedabad's Gulberg Society.

In a setback to Zakia, the Gujarat High court on Thursday rejected her plea challenging the lower court order on the SIT clean chit to Modi and others.

Jafri and activist Teesta Setalvad's NGO Citizen for Justice and Peace blamed Modi and 57 others for their inaction to contain post-Godhra riots. The lower court went over all the aspects of allegations in detail to conclude that it was no longer necessary to look into the "larger conspiracy" angle, the SIT argued.

But the order also brings relief for riot victims who can approach courts again for further investigation. The SIT, in its closure report in February 2012, had given a clean chit to Modi and others. "As the issue is dealt with by the magistrate court, its decision is upheld and the high court is not inclined to interfere into its conclusion", the High Court said. In December 2013, the metropolitan magistrate's court in Ahmedabad had rejected Zakia's petition against the report, after which she had moved the high court in 2014. The court said that the only possibility for Zakia could be to demand fresh investigation with the magisterial court.

The magistrate also ignored submissions of key witnesses such as (former IPS officers) Sanjiv Bhatt, RB Sreekumar and Rahul Sharma, and ignored the findings of Tehelka magazine's sting operation, Desai reportedly told the HC. The court had upheld SIT's report which said that no offence had been established against any of the 58 people listed in Jafri's complaint.