Thursday, December 2, 2010

SIT found “no substantial incriminating evidence” against Modi

New Delhi: A Supreme Courtappointed Special Investigation Team has cleared Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi of the charge that he failed to discharge his constitutional duty to intervene swiftly to stop communal riots that engulfed the state in 2002. Sources said the SIT found “no substantial incriminating evidence” against Modi, who was accused by Zakia Jafri of deliberately letting the rioters run rampage.

Jafri’s spouse, former Congress MP Ahsan Jafri, was brutally killed by a mob of rioters whom the police, allegedly, did not stop from attacking the Gulbarg Society housing complex.
The SC on April 27 last year had asked the SIT headed by former CBI director R K Raghavan to investigate Jafri’s complaint. Subsequently, the probe team grilled Modi for over nine hours. In its status report submitted to the SC on November 26, the SIT told a bench comprising Justices D K Jain, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam that the investigations into Jafri’s complaint had been completed and it had found no substantial incriminating evidence against the CM.
Jafri’s complaint had given details of how, as part of a plan, communal riots were allowed to go on in the state with the CM, cabinet ministers, police and bureaucracy abdicating their constitutional duty to protect life and property of citizens irrespective of their caste and religion. Her charge against Modi read: “The constitutionally elected head of the state and responsible for fundamental rights, right to life and property of all citizens regardless of caste, community and gender, alleged to be architect of a criminal conspiracy to subvert constitutional governance and the rule of law; unleash unlawful and illegal practices during the mass carnage and thereafter protecting the accused who played direct as well as indirect role and abetted commission of the crime.”
After investigating the complaint and related files, the SIT had to seek a direction from the apex court to a reluctant Gujarat government for handing over of all alleged “hate-speeches” in and around the time of riots. The SC had criticised the state government and asked it to hand over the documents sought by the SIT. The investigation also saw Modi being quizzed by sleuths over his role during the riots, which left more than 2,000 dead.
The SIT was set up earlier by the SC to look into the charge of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that the state police inquiry into several key riot cases was unreliable. Jafri’s complaint had identical charges against 15 cabinet ministers and MLAs. It said they, despite being under oath to defend and protect the lives and property of all citizens, allegedly used “political influence to prevent administration and the law and order machinery from carrying out their constitutionally bound duty to prevent violence and protect the citizens”.
Apart from alleging grave dereliction of duty against Modi and 62 others including the collectors and SPs of every riot affected district, Jafri said there had been “deliberate attempts to scuttle most of the cases”. Basing her complaint on extracts of affidavits given by senior police officials throwing light on alleged deliberate lethargy on the part of the administration to control the rampaging mobs, Jafri had alleged that terror reigned in the state and that key witnesses were being cowered into silence.

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