Congress's Kapil Sibal, who is also a senior advocate, argued in Supreme Court today that the 2002 Gujarat riots and the 1984 Sikh riots were similar in the way the attackers had hunted for their victims. Appearing for Zakia Jafri -- the widow of Gujarat's Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who was killed in the riots -- Mr Sibal spoke of the violence that swept Delhi after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
"I was living at Maharani Bagh and there were houses of two Sikh gentlemen that were already identified by the mob. They came only for those houses. Similarly, Muslim houses were identified during the 2002 Gujarat riots," Mr Sibal told the court.
Zakia Jafri has questioned the Special Investigation Team's handling of the riots investigation and its clean chit to then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Mr Sibal argued today that the team has conducted no investigation at all.
"The SIT itself should be investigated. It did not do its job. It was an act of protection... The SIT only worked to protect the VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad), Bajrang Dal, RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) members and protect people worthy of names," he told the three-judge bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar.
The team "rendered conclusions contrary to facts that they were aware of," he said, slamming the team headed by former CBI chief RK Raghavan set up by the Supreme Court in 2008.
"If the investigating agency does not do its duty, the victim suffers doubly -- at the hands of the accused and then at the hands of investigation agency which did not do its duty
He also contended that the police and SIT "collaborated and were rewarded handsomely".
"The SIT chief was made the High Commissioner of Cyprus. Ahmedabad Police Chief's call records show that he conversed with accused but he was later promoted as DGP of Gujarat," he added.
The next hearing of the case will be held on November 16.
Ehsan Jafri was among the 68 people killed at the Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002 -- a day after the S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express was burnt at Godhra, killing 59 people and triggering riots in Gujarat.
The SIT had submitted its closure report in February 2012 -- a decade after the riots -- and gave a clean chit to PM Modi and 63 others, citing "no prosecutable evidence". The Supreme Court has started hearing the case after multiple adjournments.