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Probe team denies inaction charges in connection with 2002 Gujarat riots

Probe team denies inaction charges in connection with 2002 Gujarat riots

New Delhi: The Special Investigation Team that had handed out a clean chit to all top constitutional authorities in connection with the 2002 riots in Gujarat on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that it was "not shielding anybody", on the complaint of Zakia Jafri, who has alleged larger conspiracy in the incident.

"We (SIT) were not shielding anybody," Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the probe agency, told a bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar.

Rohtagi claimed that it was unfair to say that the probe team did not do its job and added that a "very extensive inquiry" was conducted in which it examined 275 persons and there was no material to conclude that there was any larger conspiracy as alleged by Zakia Jafri.

Zakia Jafri, the wife of Congress leader Ehsan Jafri who was killed at Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002, during the violence, has challenged the probe agency's clean chit to 64 people including Narendra Modi, the then Gujarat chief minister during the riots.

Regarding the allegation that appropriate steps were not taken by the state authorities during that period to prevent riots, Mr Rohatgi said the violence started on February 28, and on the same day the then chief minister had called a meeting and a decision was taken to call the Army.

At the outset, the senior advocate told the bench also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and C T Ravikumar that he would endeavor to show that SIT had "conducted its job very thoroughly and efficiently and examined all relevant people, all relevant materials".

The senior advocate said a lot was argued about the alleged parading of bodies of train incident victims, but the argument has no substance at all.

Regarding the allegation that SIT did not consider the tapes of a sting operation, Mr Rohatgi said the statements made in them inspired no confidence and there was no material to support them.

The senior advocate said after the SIT took over the probe, several supplementary charge sheets were filed and many accused were added in these cases.

Dealing with Zakia Jafri's argument that SIT did not examine the relevant call detail records (CDRs) of that period, Mr Rohatgi said by the time SIT came for investigation, around eight years have gone by and companies do not keep CDRs for so long.

"We (SIT) found no evidence either of parading, which could have added fuel to the fire. We found no evidence that police or state was complicit in getting the post-mortem wrongly done," he said.

Regarding the allegation that some public servants were transferred at that time, he said it is for the government to decide on transfer.

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TAGS:Gujarat Riots 2002special investigation team
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