No Final Order on 2002 Riot Closure Report: SC to Court

New Delhi
No Final Order on 2002 Riot Closure Report: SC to Court
The Supreme Court today asked a Gujarat trial court not to pronounce its final order on the closure report of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in the 2002 Gulburg Housing Society riot case of Ahmedabad.

"The final order on the closure report would not be pronounced," a bench of justices D K Jain, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam said.

The court also issued notice to the Gujarat government and sought its response on the plea of slain Congress leader Ehsan Jafri's widow seeking documents relating to the SIT probe into the Gulburg Society massacre case.

An Ahmedabad trial court had on November 27 accepted the SIT closure report filed on March 13, 2012 in the case.

In another related development to the post-Godhra riots of 2002, senior advocate Harish Salve, who has been assisting the apex court as an amicus curiae in nine cases, said he would move an application for "relocating" key witnesses and for continuing with their security.

The bench also expressed surprise that Justice G T Nanavati Commission, set up by the Gujarat Government to inquire into the riots, has summoned the SIT members and is asking for its report despite the apex court's order making it clear that the probe panel's report would be placed only before it.

"Our earlier order is not vague. In fact, we have asked SIT that it will not divulge any information," the bench said.

The apex court on September 12, 2011 had passed the order relating to supply of documents to Jafri's widow, Zakia Jafri.

It had also asked the SIT, headed by former CBI Director R K Raghavan, which probed the riot cases including the Ahmedabad Gulburg Housing Society massacre case in which former Congress MP Jafri had been killed, to forward its final report to the local court.

Senior IPS officer A K Malhotra, also a SIT member, who was specially asked to probe the Gulburg Society case, had given his report to a special bench of the apex court in a sealed cover.

Zakia Jafri has filed the petition challenging the trial court's order rejecting her plea for supply of some documents relating to the investigation in the case including the probe report filed by Malhotra.

She was seeking the documents to file a protest petition against the SIT's closure report in the Gulburg Society riots case in which 69 people, including Ehsan Jafri had been killed by a mob on February 28, 2002.

Jafri contended that the court's refusal to allow her access the documents pertaining to the investigation by the SIT into the case was coming in the way of her filing the protest petition against the closure report.

The court was hearing Jafri's appeal against July 16, 2012 order of the trial court, which had rejected her demand for preliminary report filed by Malhotra in the Supreme Court after the inquiry into her complaint against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others with regard to 2002 riots.

Advocate Kamini Jaiswal, appearing for Jafri, said the November 27 order of the trial court closing the case and not supplying the documents has jeopardised the victim's right to file a protest petition.

The trial court had said Jafri has lost the right to file a protest petition against the SIT report, which gave a clean chit to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, due to lapse of time. It had said despite having been given sufficient time, she had not filed the protest petition.

The court had said Zakia Jafri can now only make oral submission regarding her protest against the SIT report.

The SIT had submitted its final report in the apex court regarding Gulburg Society riot case giving a clean chit to Modi and others in 2002 riot cases in March, 2012.

The SIT had provided a copy of the report to Zakia in May asking her to file a protest petition within the stipulated time of two months. Jafri, however, had not filed the protest petition.

The SIT was formed by the Supreme Court to investigate Jafri's allegation that Modi, other ministers of his cabinet, police officers and members of some right wing organisations were behind the larger conspiracy of the 2002 riots in which more than 1,000 people were killed.
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