Gujarat riots: Probed all facts, says SIT as it denies Zakia Jafri charges

The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), which probed the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat, on Wednesday denied contentions by the wife of slain Congress MP Ehsan Jafri that it had not gone into all the facts related to the communal incidents, stating that it had “faithfully investigated everything”.

“We will show you that we have faithfully investigated everything,” Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the SIT, told a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar.

The bench, also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheswhwari and C T Ravikumar, is hearing the appeal by Zakia Jafri challenging the October 5, 2017 Gujarat High Court order upholding the Ahmedabad Metropolitan Magistrate Court’s decision to accept the closure report filed by the SIT, giving a clean chit to the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and 63 others.

Rohatgi’s statement came in response to a contention by Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Jafri, that the SIT had not inquired in detail into the presence of a minister in the police control room. “What business does the minister have in being in the police control room? Does this not need a probe?” asked Sibal.

He pointed out that a private person, Jaydeep Patel, was handed over the bodies of persons who were killed in the Godhra train carnage. “Question is, contrary to all rules of procedure, how was a dead body given to this individual through an official communication?” said Sibal, adding it calls for serious investigation.

“By the time these bodies reached Ahmedabad the crowd had gathered. Who made phone calls? How did anyone know that Patel was taking dead bodies? I don’t know, but these have to be investigated. But SIT saying a departmental enquiry is not enough,” he submitted.

The bench pointed out that “it was not an ordinary investigation. SIT was ordered by the Supreme Court” and told Sibal to not “generalise it”.

The arguments remained incomplete and the hearing will resume on November 10.

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