Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Report on Modi’s role in ’02 riots submitted

Gujarat EDN TOI 26JUL2011 Dhananjay Mahapatra | TNN

New Delhi: The Supreme Court-monitored probe into Gujarat riot cases reached a critical stage on Monday with amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran submitting his views on the Special Investigation Team's (SIT) finding that there was no prosecutable evidence against chief minister Narendra Modi.

Modi's fate -- whether he faces a criminal case or not --will depend on the report of senior advocate Ramachandran, who was asked by a special bench of justices D K Jain, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam to weigh the evidence on record and give an expert opinion on it.

Ramachandran's report will be considered by the bench on August 28, which will be keenly watched not only by the BJP and the Modi government but also by the complainant Jakia Jafri, and social activist Teesta Setalvad, who has filed numerous petitions to seek justice for the victims.

"The court had asked for an independent assessment of the material on record and evidence collected by the SIT. I have also interacted with several persons in Gujarat before submitting the report," Ramachandran told TOI but refused to elaborate on his findings.

Importantly, Ramachandran was also asked to give his views on the affidavit of IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who had accused Modi of refusing to rein in violent mobs during a high-level meeting on February 27, 2002, immediately after the Godhra train burning case.

In its report to the court, the R K Raghavan-headed SIT had disbelieved Bhatt's claim and said the officer was not present at Modi's residence when the meeting took place.

Ramachandran visited Gujarat and interacted with several witnesses and people connected with the issue before giving his report to the court. He also dealt with an affidavit filed by a journalist supporting Bhatt's claim that the IPS officer was present during the meeting at Modi's residence.

Dealing with SIT's investigation report on Jakia Jafri's complaint, which had alleged involvement of Modi and 62 other politicians, bureaucrats and cops in the post-Godhra riots, the amicus curiae on March 15 had pointed out certain discrepancies in the conclusion given the tenor of the evidence recorded by the Raghavanheaded team.

The bench on March 15 had asked SIT to look into the amicus curiae's doubts and mandated the team to conduct further probe if needed. Pursuant to the direction, the SIT had interviewed Bhatt. However, ex-DGP K Chakravarthy had countered by alleging that Bhatt was not part of the meeting.


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