The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the plea filed by Zakia Ehsan Jafri challenging the clean chit given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Jafri, the widow of Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who got killed in the Gulberg Society massacre during the 2002 Gujarat riots, filed the special leave petition in the Supreme Court challenging the October 2017 judgment of the Gujarat High Court which accepted the closure report filed by the SIT regarding larger conspiracy allegations against the state administration. However, the High Court granted liberty to Jafri to seek further investigation.
A bench of justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari, and CT Ravikumar upheld a Gujarat court’s order accepting a Special Investigation Team (SIT)’s closure report exonerating 64 people, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was then Gujarat chief minister, of the larger conspiracy.
"We uphold the decision of the Magistrate in accepting the final report dated 08.02.2012 submitted by the SIT as it is and rejecting the protest petition filed by the appellant (Zakia Jafri)", Justice Khanwilkar said reading out the operative portion of the judgment.
"We don't countenance the submission of the appellant regarding infraction of rule of law regarding the investigation and the approach of the Magistrate and the High Court in dealing with the final report. Accordingly, we hold the appeal is devoid of merits and deserves to be dismissed in aforementioned terms", Justice Khanwilkar said.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who represented the petitioners, argued the allegations against Modi were based on those former police officer Sanjiv Bhat, who claimed to be present at the meeting, levelled. SIT concluded Bhatt was not at the meeting and hence there was no other way to confirm the allegations.
The Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar also appreciated the SIT members for the "indefatigable work done", and for having "come out with flying colours unscathed."
"At the end of the day, it appears to us that a coalesced effort of the disgruntled officials of the State of Gujarat along with others was to create a sensation by making revelations which were false to their own knowledge. The falsity of their claims had been fully exposed by the SIT after a thorough investigation," the judgment said.
Such officials need to be in the dock for "keeping pot boiling" with an ulterior motive, the Court underlined.
"Intriguingly, the present proceedings have been 305 pursued for the last 16 years including with the audacity to question the integrity of every functionary involved in the process of exposing the devious stratagem adopted (to borrow the submission of learned counsel for the SIT), to keep the pot boiling, obviously, for ulterior design. As a matter of fact, all those involved in such abuse of process, need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law," the Court said.
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