New Delhi: It's been a good Thursday for the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat, just four days before polling begins in the general elections. This morning a minister was acquitted in a murder case and the Supreme Court has now praised the Special Investigation Team or SIT probing Gujarat riot cases, for the progress it has made.
After examining a status report submitted by the SIT, the court said today, "A lot of progress has been achieved. The report says out of nine cases monitored by the court, investigation in six cases is over, resulting in conviction. And the rest of the three cases are in the final stages."
The SIT was set up by the Supreme Court under former CBI chief RK Raghavan in 2008. It periodically submits status reports to the court, which is monitoring the investigation.
One of the three cases still in court is the Gulbarg Society massacre, in which 68 people, including a former Congress MP Ehsaan Jafri, were killed by a mob in a residential complex in Ahmebadad on February 28 2002. (Case timeline)
Mr Jafri's wife Zakiya had alleged that Mr Modi colluded with senior ministers, bureaucrats and the police to fan the communal violence that tore through the state. These allegations were investigated by the SIT, which said in February 2012 that there was no prosecutable evidence against Mr Modi and 59 others in this case and filed a closure report indicating its inquiry has ended.
Last December, in huge relief for Mr Modi, who is the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, a metropolitan court in Ahmedabad accepted the clean chit given to the Gujarat chief minister, rejecting Ms Jafri's petition challenging the the SIT's closure report. (Gujarat court accepts clean chit to Modi)
Ms Jafri has now moved the Gujarat High Court against the verdict. (Read more...)
The shadow of the Gujarat riots has been Mr Modi's biggest challenge in his political career in the last decade and the BJP has called the December ruling a vindication of its stand all along that the Gujarat CM has been the victim of slander and vilification by political rivals.
The Congress and NGOs assisting the riot victims have accused the SIT of ignoring what they allege important evidences to allow Mr Modi get a clean chit.
In more good news for Mr Modi, his water resources minister, Babu Bokhiriya was this morning discharged by the Supreme Court in a 2005 murder case involving a Congress leader in Porbandar. (Read more...)