The head of the Special Investigation Team that gave clean chit to 64 people in the 2002 Gujarat riots case was “rewarded handsomely”, Zakia Jafri, the wife of Congress leader Ehsan Jafri, told the Supreme Court on Thursday, reported Bar and Bench.
Ehsan Jafri was among the 69 people who were killed when a mob went on a rampage in Ahmedabad’s Gulberg society on February 28, 2002, pelting stones and setting fire to homes.
Before the Supreme Court, Zakia Jafri has challenged the Special Investigation Team’s clean chit to the 64 people, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was the chief minister of Gujarat in 2002.
On Wednesday, Zakia Jafri had claimed that the Special Investigation Team had ignored crucial evidence and filed a closure report without conducting proper investigation. She demanded an investigation against the Special Investigation Team.
During Thursday’s hearing, advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Jafri, said that the head of the team, RK Raghavan, was made the high commissioner of Cyprus after the investigation.
He also reiterated his demand for an investigation.
“The SIT was rendering conclusions contrary to facts they were aware of,” Sibal said. “In fact, SIT should be investigated. It is true...I am not concerned with individuals. I am concerned with the process. I am only saying SIT did not do its job. It was an act of protection. It did a collaborative exercise.”
Sibal claimed that there was evidence like call data records that showed the police officials and mobs were identifying the houses of Muslims. This points towards a conspiracy, he said.
The advocate alleged that the investigation team and the Gujarat High Court ignored all these evidence.
He also said that call data records showed that then Ahmedabad Police Commissioner PC Pandey was talking to the accused persons in the case.
“PC Pandey was one of the worst collaborators [in the conspiracy],” Sibal argued. “He later became DGP [director general of police] of Gujarat.”
Sibal told the bench that the investigation was set up by the Supreme Court to look into the riots because the National Human Rights Commission had said that the local police was not investigating the matter properly, reported PTI.
“I am not making any allegations,” he said. “I am only saying that the SIT did not do its job.”
The advocate said that members of Hindutva organisations Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh had claimed that public prosecutors in the case were acting at their behest.
Sibal also drew parallels with the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi.
“I was living at Maharani Bagh,” he said. “And houses of two Sikh gentlemen there were already identified by the mob. They came only for those houses.”
He added that in the same manner, Muslim houses were identified during the 2002 Gujarat riots.
On Wednesday, the special investigation team had told the Supreme Court that Jafri’s complaint was thoroughly examined.
Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing the Special Investigation Team, had said there were nine major first information reports in the riots cases. The special investigation team took up the cases and filed the chargesheets.
The Special Investigation Team had submitted its closure report on February 8, 2012, and said that there was no prosecutable evidence against Modi and the 63 others.
In 2013, when Jafri had filed a petition opposing the closure report, the magistrate, who had received the report, upheld it and dismissed her petition.
She had then moved the Gujarat High Court. In 2017, the High Court upheld the magistrate’s decision and dismissed her plea.
Jafri then moved the Supreme Court that said it would examine the closure report.