Zakia Jafri, the wife of Congress leader Ehsan Jafri, on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that the Special Investigation Team did not record the Army’s statement in the 2002 Gujarat riots case, The Indian Express reported.
Before the Supreme Court, 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. The petitioner’s husband 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.
On Tuesday, a bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar was hearing the arguments of senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who represents Zakia Jafri.
Sibal referred to a memoir of Lieutenant General Zameer Uddin Shah, who led the armed forces during the riot, Live Law reported. Shah, in his book, has claimed that the Special Investigating Team did not record his statement.
“Were they [Army] given quick access or not?” Sibal asked. “If they were not given quick access then why not?”
The court wanted to know if the memoir was available to the Special Investigation Team. After Sibal said that the book was published in 2018, the court said, “So this was not before Special Investigation Team”.
According to the memoir, parts of which were being read out by Sibal during the hearing, the soldiers were stranded at the airfield during the riots due to lack of transportation. Shah, in his memoir, also said that the civic administration was late in responding to the riots.
“This is consistent with other evidence,” Sibal said. “He [Shah] could not even contact the public servants. This was a part of the official record. They [Special Investigation Team] could have investigated it.”
The advocate stated that the petitioner, Zakia Jafri, was denied these details in the past even as she had filed a Right to Information query to obtain the facts.
During the previous hearings in November, Zakia Jafri has alleged that the Special Investigation Team was involved with some of the accused in the 2002 Gujarat riots case.
She has also alleged that the investigation team had ignored crucial evidence and filed a closure report without conducting a proper investigation. She demanded an inquiry against the Special Investigation Team.
The team had submitted its closure report on February 8, 2012, saying there was no prosecutable evidence against accused persons, including Modi, in the riots cases.
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.