Rajnish Sharma, Asian Age Correspondent
New Delhi, 11 April 2012. In what might give Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi a shot in the arm as he heads into Assembly polls later this year, the senior BJP leader has been given a clean chit by the Special Investigation Team in the Gulberg Society massacre case. Former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri was among 69 people killed there after commumal riots erupted in Gujarat after the horrific Godhra train carnage.
Mr Modi’s clean chit was revealed by a trial court in Ahmedabad on Tuesday, which said the Supreme Court-appointed SIT had said “it did not find any prosecutable evidence against Narendra Modi and 61 others” in the massacre.
Putting a spanner in the works for Mr Modi and others, however, are independent findings by amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran on the Gulberg killings. Sources claimed his report contradicts the SIT’s findings and say there is enough evidence to prosecute Mr Modi. It is believed Mr Ramachandran’s findings will be part of the annexures to the SIT report.
The SIT was headed by former CBI chief R.K. Raghavan and probed the Gulberg Society riots of 2002. It is believed to have said its findings should be treated as a “closure report”. Speaking to television channels, Mr Raghvan said motives should not be attributed to the SIT in a clean chit to Mr Modi.
While the BJP was quick to welcome the SIT findings as “a big relief”, it’s a setback for Mr Jafri’s widow, Zakia Jafri, who had been battling to bring those allegedly behind the Gulberg Society massacre to justice. Ehsan Jafri and his family were among the residents of this apartment complex.
The SIT’s findings will also be a setback for Gujarat IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who had alleged he had attended two law and order meetings where the CM had ordered the police to go slow on rioters. The SIT said it found no evidence to back up the IPS officer’s claims.
It was former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri’s widow Zakia Jafri who had moved the Supreme Court seeking an independent investigation into the 2002 Gulberg riots. She had alleged inaction on the part of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi in the case, following which the SIT was constituted in 2008.