Millennium Post

Guj riots: HC order on Zakia Jafri's petition likely today

The Gujarat High Court is likely to pronounce tomorrow its order on a petition by Zakia Jafri, widow of the slain Congress leader Ehsan Jafri, challenging a lower court order upholding a clean chit to the then chief minister Narendra Modi and others regarding the 2002 riots.
Hearing on the petition before Justice Sonia Gokani concluded on July 3.
Jafri and Citizen for Justice and Peace, an NGO run by activist Teesta Setalvad, had filed the criminal review petition against a magistrate's court's order which upheld the closure report of the Special Investigation Team (SIT).
The petition demanded to make Modi and 59 others accused for being party to "the larger criminal conspiracy" behind the post-Godhra riots of 2002.
Ehsan Jafri, a former MP, was one of the riot victims. He and 67 others were killed when a mob set his house in Gulberg Society here on fire on February 28, 2002, a day after the Godhra train burning incident.
The SIT, which probed Jafri's complaint alleging a deeper conspiracy, submitted before the high court that its investigation was monitored by the apex court, and its report was largely accepted by all.
The lower court looked into all aspects and held that there was no need to investigate the matter further from the angle of larger conspiracy involving the state functionaries, it said.
Zakia Jafri's lawyer Mihir Desai, on the other hand, argued that the magistrate's court did not even consider the option of rejecting the report and ordering a fresh probe.
The lower court ignored Supreme Court's guidelines and did not consider signed statements of witnesses which suggested that there was a conspiracy behind riots, he said.
The magistrate ignored submissions of key witnesses such as (former IPS officers) Sanjiv Bhatt, R B Shreekumar, and Rahul Sharma, and ignored findings of Tehelka magazine, advocate Desai argued.
The SIT filed its closure report giving a clean chit to Modi and others on February 8, 2012 before the metropolitan magistrate's court here.

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