Indian SC upholds SIT’s clean chit to Modi in Gujarat riots

New Delhi, June 25 (KMS): The Indian Supreme Court has upheld the Special Investigation Team’s (SIT) clean chit to the-then Gujarat chief minister, Narendra Modi and 63 others in the 2002 pogrom in the state and dismissed a plea by slain Congress leader Ehsan Jafri’s wife, Zakia.

According to Kashmir Media Service, a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar said the material collected during the investigation does not “give rise to strong or grave suspicion regarding hatching of larger criminal conspiracy at the highest level” for causing mass violence against Muslims.

“We do not countenance the submission of the appellant regarding infraction of rule of law in the matter of investigation and the approach of the magistrate and the high court in dealing with the final report,” the bench said in its 452-page judgement, as per a media report.

Congress leader and former MP, Ehsan Jafri was among the 68 people killed at Ahmedabad’s Gulberg Society during a pogrom on 28 February 2002, a day after the Godhra train burning that claimed 59 lives. In the pogrom that it triggered over 2,000 Muslims were killed.

In its verdict, the apex court noted that the SIT had formed its opinion after considering all the material collated during the investigation. The question of further probe would have arisen only on the availability of new material/information in connection with the allegation of larger conspiracy at the highest level, which is not forthcoming in this case.

“Accordingly, we hold that this appeal is devoid of merits and, resultantly, deserves to be dismissed in the aforementioned terms”, it added.

On the other hand, legal experts have termed the Indian Supreme Court’s verdict as travesty of justice. They said that the mass killing of Muslims was carried out under the patronage of Narendra Modi.

The State Department had denied visa to Modi to enter the US in 2005 on religious-freedom grounds, stemming from allegations that he tacitly supported Hindu extremists during riots in his home state in 2002.

Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien had called Narendra Modi the ‘Butcher of Gujarat’.