NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the 2002 post-Godhra riots on Tuesday exonerated Gujarat CM Narendra Modi in the Gulberg massacre case and sought the closure of the case as it found no evidence against him.
The apex court had ordered an inquiry into the complaint filed by Zakia Jafri, widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri (who was among 69 persons killed in the Gulberg society carnage) and appointed the SIT, headed by R K Raghavan, to probe it.
Reacting to the SIT’s closure report, Zakia said she was “pained” and vowed to continue her battle for justice, while the BJP said that the “vilification campaign against Modi must now end”.
“In the court of the Lord above, justice can get delayed but not denied. I am sure that truth will come out and I will get justice,” she said.
She added that the court “should hear them before taking a final decision on the SIT report”. Activist Teesta Setalvad described the development as a “huge disappointment”.
Striking a cautious note, the BJP said that a campaign fuelled by a section of activists here and abroad, had tried to tar the image of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, “something which must now end”. “No evidence against Narendra Modi, says SIT appointed by Supreme Court. A big relief for us...
Ten years of vilification campaign must stop,” said Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, on twitter. BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said the “investigation cannot be continued on manufactured evidence.” Raghavan, meanwhile, said the complainant will have an opportunity to contest the findings of the SIT report.
“We have filed a report saying no evidence on the contents of the particular petition was available and we have recommended closure,” he said. “We have done our duty to the best of our abilities,” he said, adding the “integrity of the team cannot be questioned in arriving at its conclusion”.
Raju Ramachandran, appointed by the Supreme Court as amicus curiae, hoped his independent report on the SIT document will also be given to the complainant who has a right to file a protest petition in court. Refusing to disclose the contents of his report, Ramachandran said he has given an “independent assessment on the SIT report”.