The Gujarat unit of Congress today demanded that the Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team prosecute Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his alleged role in the 2002 post-Godhra riots.
GPCC president Arjun Modhwadia made the demand in a letter to the SIT chief, R K Raghavan. SIT is currently busy preparing the final report on the complaint against Modi and others, to be submitted to a magistrate's court, as ordered by the Supreme Court.
"I do not know how you can avoid taking cognizance of facts and evidence related to the charge against Modi and all those government officials, who intentionally violated statutory stipulation about handing over of dead bodies involved in crime/accident (Godhra train burning)," Modhwadia said in the letter.
"Those responsible for all these acts of commission and omission are liable to be charged under section 166, 186, 187 read with section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC. Your action of exonerating Narendra Modi and his supporters will make Indian criminal justice system a subject of ridicule in the eyes of the whole world," Modhwadia said.
The Congress leader also said that decision of the state government to bring dead bodies of 59 victims of Godhra train incident to Ahmedabad led to a communal frenzy, as the bodies were put on display, resulting in the riots.
The complaint against Modi was filed by Jakia Zafri, widow of the slain Congress MP Ehssan Zafri.
Similar demand -- that SIT prosecute Modi -- has been made earlier by former police officers R B Sreekumar and Sanjiv Bhatt.
"The then additional chief secretary (home) Ashok Narayan, during his cross-examination before the Nanavati Commission, had confirmed that decision to bring dead bodies to Ahmedabad was taken at a higher level. The higher level above him are the Chief Secretary, MOS Home and the Chief Minister," Modhwadia said.
"This alone establishes the culpability of the Chief Minister.
"After these 59 bodies had been taken to Ahmedabad Sola Hospital, after having been displayed to the media...These bodies were handed over to Shri Jaideep Patel of the VHP," Modhwadia said.
"This was in violation of section 176 (4) (of Criminal Procedure Code) which itself provides that when an inquest is done, the relatives of the deceased would be allowed to remain present. Do you not see in this the ingredients of a criminal conspiracy which has resulted in severely dividing the Gujarat society on communal lines?" Modhwadia asked.
"The Supreme Court, while disposing the petition filed by Zakia Jafri, has directed the SIT to take into account all the material while filing a report under Section 173 (before magistrate).
"You have been entrusted with the task of unravelling one of the worst crimes that could ever have been committed with the connivance of the official apparatus. You owe it to the society, which has given you so much, to do the right thing," the letter said.
"The report that you will submit to the court, as directed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, will either uphold the majesty of law or result in its annihilation forever," Modhwadia said.