Wednesday, September 14, 2011

'It is Premature to Talk of Either Clean Chits or Indictments'

Tehelka 13SEP2011


Cutting through the hype and getting down to brass tacks, amicus curiae Raju Ramachandranexplains to Ashish Khetan the Supreme Court order in the 2002 Gujarat massacre case

The Supreme Court order directing the Special Investigation Team to file its final report into the allegations of Narendra Modi being the architect of the 2002 Gujarat massacre before an Ahmedabad trial court has been wrongly interpreted as relief for the Gujarat chief minister by his party and sympathisers. The amicus curiae in the case, Raju Ramachandran, who had been assisting the apex court for almost a year tells TEHELKA that the order is neither an exoneration nor a clean-chit for Modi and several other state top functionaries who have been listed as accused in the slain Congress leader Ehsan Jafri’s widow Zakia Jafri’s complaint.

Explaining the true legal and judicial essence of the order, Ramachandran said that his comprehensive and independent evaluation of the SIT report would have a significant bearing in the final outcome of the probe against Modi. He also dismissed the apprehensions that entrusting the judicial proceedings into the allegations of larger conspiracy back to an Ahmedabad court would lead to derailment of the process of justice. He said the complainant would have all the judicial remedies available to her, in case she is dissatisfied with the trial court proceedings. Contrary to the picture painted by the BJP, Modi’s tryst with the law has only begun and not ended.

In your considered view, is the Supreme Court order instructing the SIT to place its final report or chargesheet before a trial court in Ahmedabad, a legal and moral victory for Narendra Modi and others—as being claimed by BJP and the government of Gujarat?
As an amicus, I would not like to comment on the reaction of this side or the other. I am, however, keen to see that the order is correctly understood. The Supreme Court’s order is an impeccable one. It upholds the rule of law. It protects the rights of both the complainant and the potential accused. The law will now take its course. My report contains an independent assessment of the material on record which was given after an interaction with relevant witnesses. The SIT Report and my report would be before the trial court. I have no doubt that the trial court will act in accordance with law and that the ends of justice will be met. It is premature to talk of either clean chits or indictments. That stage can come before the trial court when the law is set in motion.

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