HC rejects petition to stay riot probe against Modi, 62 others

Written by Political Bureau | Ahmedabad | Updated: Jul 26 2009, 04:23am hrs
The Gujarat High Court on Friday dismissed a petition challenging a probe by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) into a complaint that named chief minister Narendra Modi and 62 others for their alleged roles during the 2002 post-Godhra riots.

Justice DH Waghela dismissed the petition filed by former BJP MLA Kalu Maliwad he is one of the 62 stating that no relief could be granted in the case as the SIT was working directly under the supervision of the Supreme Court.

Maliwad had approached the Gujarat High Court, seeking a stay on investigations by the SIT into a complaint by Zakia Jaffri whose husband and former MP Ehsan Jaffri was among 39 people massacred at Gulbarg Society during the riots.

In her complaint, Zakia had named Narendra Modi, his Cabinet colleagues, police officials and senior bureaucrats and accused them of aiding and abetting the post-Godhra riots.

Dismissing the petition, Justice Waghela said: There is no controversy about the fact that the SIT is required, authorised and permitted to hold preliminary inquiry so as to submit its report within time. The court also observed that if the SIT needed to question any person to submit its report to the Supreme Court then all civil and judicial authorities are duty-bound to act in aid of such exercise.

While the SIT is acting not only under the direction but practically under the supervision of the Supreme Court to which it has to submit its report, no relief as prayed in the petition can be granted to the petitioner by the High Court. Therefore, the petition is dismissed, Justice Waghela.

Maliwads counsel SB Vakil had contended that

the SIT could only investigate complaints which had been registered.

Since Zakias complaint had not been registered, the SIT, he said, could not investigate it under provisions

of the Criminal Procedure Code. Vakil also contended that the SC had only asked the SIT to look into the matter and not conduct an investigation.

But SIT counsel KG Menon opposed the petition, submitting that it appeared to have been filed with an oblique and hidden purpose. He said the SIT was duty-bound, under the direction of the SC, to submit a report which could be done only after a preliminary inquiry during which several persons, including the accused persons, may have to be summoned.