Tuesday, January 19, 2010

SIT inching to Question Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi

The Special Investing Team constituted by the Supreme Court to probe the post-Godhra communal mayhem in Gujarat is moving close to investigate the Chief Minister Narendra Modi. One of his ministers Maya Kodnani had to resign earlier when her name came up in Naroda Patiya Case.
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Supreme Court-constituted Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into 2002 riot cases appears to be moving closer to investigating the actions of chief minister Narendra Modi during the period of violence. The SIT had lodged a complaint on Tuesday with the Supreme Court that certain relevant documents relating to probe were not being given by the state government.

A bench of justices DK Jain, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam directed Gujarat government to hand over all records of post Godhra riots including the transcripts of an allegedly inflammatory speech made by Chief Minister Narendra Modi after the Godhra train carnage.

The court rejected the state government's argument that the documents sought by SIT may not have relevance to investigations. "If SIT thinks Modi’s speeches were relevant for the purpose of the probe, why wouldn’t you give those to it?’’ the court asked.

The SIT headed by former CBI chief R K Raghavan was constituted under the directives of the Supreme court on March 26, 2008. The other members of the team were former DG of UP Police C D Satpathy and three IPS officers from Gujarat- Geeta Johri, Shivanand Jha and Ashish Bhatia. The nine cases SIT is investigating include incidents of Gulbarg Society, Naroda Gaon, Naroda Patiya and Sardarpura.

SIT on 1st May, 2009 had filed a chargesheet in a local court here in Naroda Gam case in which BJP leader and former state minister Maya Kodnani is one of the prime accused.

The charges had been framed under IPC Sections 120 (B) for criminal conspiracy, 302 for murder, 307 for attempt to murder, 395 and 397 for loot and 143 to 147 for rioting. Maya Kodnani, State Minister for Women and Child Welfare had to resign from the ministry.

In November, 2009 a key witness Imtiyaz Saeedkhan Pathan in the Gulbarg massacre case had told a special court that chief minister Narendra Modi had abused former MP Ahsan Jafri when he called him for help on February 28, 2002. Sixty-nine people were killed in Gulbarg Society including Jafri. A young Parsi boy, Azhar Mody, also went missing from his house, the story of which became a Bollywood film Parzania. This film was banned in Gujarat.

Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam said the apex court could also examine the idea of reconstituting SIT in the wake of a recent judgement of the court in Sheikh Sohrabuddin fake encounter case in which it had passed certain adverse remarks against Inspector General of Police Geeta Johri. She is one of the members of SIT.

The bench also declined to grant five months time sought by SIT to submit its reports and asked the probe team to come out with its report to the court by April 30. Earlier the team had to submit its finding report by 31st December 2009.


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