PM Modi’s clean chit challenged in Gujarat riots case, Supreme Court dismisses plea

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The Supreme Court upheld the clean chit given to PM Modi by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in the 2002 Gujarat riots case. A Supreme Court bench comprising Justices AM Khavilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar was hearing a plea by Zakia Jafri, challenging the relief to 63 people, including the PM. Zakia’s husband Ehsan Jafri, a former Congress MP, was there during the violence at Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002. At that time, Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

On February 27, 2002, after a fire broke out in the S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra resulting in the death of 59 people, riots broke out across Gujarat. Based on a petition by Zakia Jafri, the Supreme Court in 2009 directed the SIT, headed by former CBI director RK Raghavan, to probe the alleged role of the then Gujarat CM. In pursuance of this, the SIT questioned Modi in connection with the case in 2010. On February 8, 2012, it filed a closure report giving clean chit to 64 persons named in Jafri’s complaint, stating that there was “no prosecutable evidence”.

After the Metropolitan Magistrate accepted the closure report, she moved the Gujarat High Court against its order. However, the HC dismissed her plea on October 5, 2017, following which she challenged the decision before the apex court. In her petition, the late Congress MP’s wife sought an interim order to the SIT to conduct further investigation under Section 173 (8) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the SIT, appealed to the Supreme Court to support the decision of the trial court and the high court.

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