Friday, August 31, 2012

SIT calls bias accusations unfortunate

After a rebuke from the special court hearing the Gulbarg Society massacre case, the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Wednesday complained before the magisterial court that there was unnecessary “hue and cry” over its closure report.
    Opposing Zakia Jafri’s plea demanding vital documents and permission for activist Teesta Setalvad to inspect original report, SIT counsel R S Jamuvar told metropolitan magistrate B J Ganatra that a din was been created outside court over the matter. The lawyer expressed reservations against certain activities, including publication of interviews of suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt.
    “Did the Supreme Court want this to happen? Let there be a judicial order first on the issue of closure report… We are facing music in the sessions court over demand of the final report,” he submitted.
    The SIT termed accusations against it as “unfortunate” and its lawyer submitted that the SC formed the SIT but everyone was now issues instructions to it. Advocate Jamuvar accused Jafri and Setalvad of falsely charging the SIT of concealment despite the fact that the probe agency had submitted 25,000 documents.
    Jafri’s counsel Mihir Desai told the court that inquiry officer A K Malhotra in his preliminary report expressed an opinion, but the final report had contra
dictory opinion about the roles of chief minister Narendra Modi and others in the 2002 riots. He argued that the complainant would require all those documents that led the SIT to change its opinion.
    Senior counsel Desai also submitted that while filing the protest petition against the report, they are going to term SIT’s approach as biased.
    To this, the SIT contended that it can
not part with Malhotra’s report, as well as, other status reports given to the SC with chairman R K Raghavan’s notes. Jamuvar also submitted that the court cannot be guided by either Malhotra’s or amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran’s reports.
    He said that providing certain documents to complainant would also be a violation of the SC order. He also argued that all those statements, on which Malhotra relied upon for his preliminary report, have been supplied to the court and complainant.
    After hearing lengthy arguments, the magistrate kept July 16 to pass order on Zakia’s plea seeking “missing” documents and on whether Setalvad should be permitted to inspect the original report on basis of the power of attorney given to her by the complainant.