2002 Gujarat riots: SC confirms clean chit to PM Modi, rejects plea slain Congress leader’s wife

Ehsan Jafri was among the 68 people killed in what came to be known as the Gulbarg Society massacre in 2002.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gets clean chit in 2002 Gujarat Riots
Prime Minister Narendra Modi

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday rejected an appeal against the clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others by a Special Investigation Team in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots. The plea was filed by Zakia Jafri the wife of Congress leader Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the riots.

Ehsan Jafri was among the 68 people killed in what came to be known as the Gulbarg Society massacre in 2002.

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Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who represented the Special Investigation Team, told the Supreme Court that it should endorse the trial court and the Gujarat High Court’s decision on Jafri’s plea otherwise “it would result in an endless exercise that could go on because of some motives of social activist Teesta Setalvad, who is Petitioner Number 2 in the petition”.

Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, who appeared on behalf of Zakia Jafri, told the Supreme Court bench that the SIT did not conduct an investigation but “did a collaborative exercise” and its probe was “fraught with omissions to protect conspirators”. He also alleged that the officials of the SIT as well as the police were “rewarded handsomely”.

Upholding the clearance issued to Narendra Modi, who was then the Chief Minister of Gujarat, by a Special Investigation Team, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition filed by Zakia Jafri.

The Special Investigation Team had submitted its closure report in February 2012 and had exonerated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 63 others, citing “no prosecutable evidence”.

A special court of Ahmedabad in 2016 convicted 24 attackers for the massacre and the court had observed that the violence was the “darkest day in the history of civil society”. The court had also acquitted 36 persons and had said there was no larger conspiracy.

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