Zakia Jafri has challenged the SIT's clean chit to 64 people (FILE)
Zakia Jafri, who has alleged larger conspiracy in the 2002 Gujarat riots, told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that she had not tried to “implicate” the then state chief minister at any stage and she has not argued on this even now.
Zakia Jafri, the wife of Congress leader Ehsan Jafri who was killed during the violence at Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002, has challenged the SIT's clean chit to 64 people including PM Narendra Modi who was the Gujarat chief minister during the riots in the state.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Zakia Jafri, told a three-judge bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar that they have not argued at all about any alleged involvement of the former chief minister and they are on the issue of larger conspiracy which was not probed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT).
The bench, also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar, observed that allegation regarding involvement of those at the highest level was investigated by the SIT and materials were collected on the basis of which the investigating officer formed an opinion and filed a report before the concerned court.
“With regard to that assertion in the tape, the SIT has pointed out contemporaneous official record how the state reacted, how the state moved into action and how steps were taken. Now, that belies that version and that is the opinion by the investigating officer. That's the way of looking at it. The allegation is, it was coming from the top, which allegation is unsubstantiated,” the bench said.
The top court also observed that a charge sheet cannot be filed against any person without there being any substantial evidence.
“I have nothing more as far as the ex-chief minister is concerned. I don't want to argue it and I have never argued it. Let's be clear on it,” Mr Sibal told the bench, adding, “At no stage did I try and implicate the ex-chief minister nor did I argue it. I am not arguing it even now.”
The senior advocate also read out a statement of the petitioner regarding the allegation of larger conspiracy and said he would place it on record on Thursday.
Reading out the statement, he said the petitioner has made her submissions based on “undisputed evidence” in the form of tapes of a sting operation and the official communications of the public functionaries.
“The petitioner has not sought to allege any wrongdoing, criminal or otherwise, with reference to facts that are disputed,” he said.
Mr Sibal said the undisputed evidence on record points towards a larger conspiracy which was not investigated by the SIT.
He said the petitioner is not concerned with what had happened in the meeting of February 27, 2002, the day when Godhra train incident had happened.
He said larger conspiracy cannot be established in the absence of investigation.
Zakia Jafri's counsel had earlier argued that her complaint of 2006 was that there was “a larger conspiracy where there was bureaucratic inaction, police complicity, hate speeches and unleashing of violence".
Ehsan Jafri, the former MP, was among the 68 people killed in the violence, a day after the Godhra train incident.
The S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was burnt at Godhra killing 59 people and triggering riots in Gujarat in 2002.
On February 8, 2012, the SIT had filed a closure report giving a clean chit to Modi, now the Prime Minister, and 63 others including senior government officials, saying there was "no prosecutable evidence" against them.
Zakia Jafri had filed a petition in the top court in 2018 challenging the Gujarat High Court's October 5, 2017 order rejecting her plea against the SIT decision.
The plea also maintained that after the SIT gave a clean chit in its closure report before a trial judge, Zakia Jafri filed a protest petition which was dismissed by the magistrate without considering "substantiated merits".
The high court in its October 2017 order had said the SIT probe was monitored by the Supreme Court.
However, it partly allowed her petition as far as its demand for a further investigation was concerned saying she can approach an appropriate forum, including the magistrate's court, a division bench of the high court, or the Supreme Court seeking further investigation.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)