A court in Gujarat today confirmed a committee set up by the Supreme Court has not found any evidence against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi or 57 others in a case based on the 2002 communal riots filed against them by Zakia Jafri. Here are 10 big facts on this story:
- The report has been prepared by a Special Investigation Team headed by retired CBI director RK Raghavan. He told NDTV that he stands by his report and is ready for it "to be scrutinized by anyone." He also said that the court will finally decide whether Mr Modi should be tried. "If we are wrong, we will bow to the judgement of the court," he said.
- The team was appointed by the Supreme Court in 2009; it delivered its report to the Supreme Court in May 2010. The court then handed over the case to a court in Ahmedabad and asked it to decide if Mr Modi should be tried.
- Zakia Jafri's husband, former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, was set on fire at Gulberg Society in 2002 while he was trying to protect his neighbours from a mob. Mrs Jafri had alleged that Mr Modi was among 62 people who colluded to ensure that assistance did not reach those being attacked.
- Nearly 70 people were killed at Ahmedabad's Gulberg Society in 24 hours on February 28, 2002.
- The court has also asked Mr Raghavan's committee to give a copy of the report to Mrs Jafri within 30 days, after which it will be accessible to the public.
- "I am saddened but confident I will get justice. I will fight for the justice till I am alive," said Mrs Jafri, who claims that her husband had made frantic calls to the police and the chief minister's office asking for help while his neighbourhood was being ravaged.
- Mr Modi's party, the BJP, said that today's developments establish his innocence. Party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said "an international and national campaign against Modi to somehow frame him for the Gujarat riots was on for the last ten years."
- The conclusions of Mr Raghavan's committee differ with those of senior lawyer Raju Ramachandran, who was asked by the Supreme Court to separately study the allegations against Mr Modi. In his report submitted last year to the Supreme Court, Mr Ramachandra reportedly advised that Mr Modi and senior policemen should be cross-examined.
- Mr Ramachandran says that due consideration should be paid to the testimony by Sanjiv Bhatt, who was a senior police officer at the time of the riots. Mr Bhatt says that at a meeting on February 27, 2002, Mr Modi met with senior police officers and asked them to let rioters continue their attacks uninterrupted.
- Mr Bhatt's version of events was rejected by the Special Investigation Team headed by Mr Raghavan, partly because other policemen at Mr Modi's meeting deny Mr Bhatt was present. Mr Ramachandran says that without cross-examination, Mr Bhatt's claim that he was at the meeting should not be rejected.