The Gujarat High Court on Thursday rejected a petition challenging a lower court’s order clearing Narendra Modi, who was then the chief minister of the state, and 59 others of charges in the violence that followed the Godhra riots, PTI reported. The petition was filed by Zakia Jafri, wife of Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the Gulberg Society massacre in 2002.
The High Court said there was no “larger conspiracy” behind the riots as alleged in the petition. However, Justice Sonia Gokani allowed Jafri to file a plea demanding a fresh investigation before the magisterial court.
“The trial court has self-limited itself in saying that further investigation, in this case, cannot be ordered,” Gokani said, according to The Indian Express. “This order of lower court deserves interference. So, the petitioner can raise the issue before the concerned court that is the same magisterial court, the division bench of the high court or the Supreme Court.”
The Supreme Court appointed-Special Investigation Team could not present any evidence of a larger conspiracy before the magisterial court, and cleared all the accused in the case. Jafri, along with Teesta Setalvad’s NGO Citizens for Justice, had moved the High Court against this order.
Mihir Desai, Jafri’s counsel, on Thursday argued that the magistrate had ignored the signed statements of witnesses which suggested there was a larger conspiracy behind the riots. The riots could have been prevented, he claimed, adding that certain ministers and police officers had abetted the violence, PTI reported.