Friday, August 31, 2012

Zakia can’t have Malhotra’s report: Court

Setalvad’s Plea To Inspect Original Report Also Denied 

Zakia Jafri will not get a copy of the preliminary report, filed by member of the Supreme Court-appointed SIT A K Malhotra, in 2010, with regard to her complaint implicating chief minister Narendra Modi and others in the 2002 riots.
    On Monday a magisterial court rejected an application filed by the widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri which sought directions to the SIT to furnish vital documents that were not supplied to her along with the closure report copy.
    Beside Malhotra’s re
port, Zakia had also sought copies of the commentary by SIT chairman R K Raghavan which were submitted to the SC in a sealed cover.
    The court has declined this plea.
    In doing so, the court made clear distinction between inquiry and investigation, and said, “This court cannot order for documents which the investigating officer of this case has not collected or taken in his custody during the course of investigation.”
    SIT had argued that the
investigation was conducted by IPS officer Himanshu Shukla, and all documents collected by him during the probe have been submitted before the court.
    Zakia was insisting on a copy of Malhotra’s report arguing that there was a change in SIT’s view on her complaint since then, and the complainant should be made aware about the evidence that led the probe agency to change its stand.

    The court has also rejected Zakia’s demand for documents related to other post-Godhra massacres like Naroda Patia.
    The SIT has, however, been directed to supply Zakia another copy of those documents that are illegible.
    While turning down Zakia’s plea, metropolitan magistrate B J Ganatra also declined social activist Teesta Setalvad’s request to
inspect the 22,000-page original report submitted in the court.
    “If applicant is appearing party-in-person, he or she can be allowed to be represented by a close friend. But in this case, the original complainant (Zakia) is represented by her lawyers and she is participating in court procedures through them. In this situation, when she is being assisted by her advocates, it’s understood that she is capable of any kind of submissions related to the case,” the court observed and upheld the SIT’s contention that Setalvad should not be permitted to touch the report. She had sought permission from the court to inspect the report on basis of a power of attorney from Zakia.
    Moreover, the court has asked SIT to file an affidavit by July 21 showing a list of documents featuring in the report, that were not collected during the course of investigation.