"No Larger Conspiracy Behind Gujarat Riots": SIT On Zakia Jafri's Charge

In the previous hearing (held last week), Congress leader Kapil Sibal, appearing for Zakia Jafri, called the Gujarat riots "a national tragedy of gargantuan proportions"

'No Larger Conspiracy Behind Gujarat Riots': SIT On Zakia Jafri's Charge

Zakia Jafri, widow of Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, has challenged the clean chit to PM Modi (File)

New Delhi:

There is no "larger conspiracy behind the Gujarat riots", the investigating police team told the Supreme Court on Wednesday, in response to allegations by Zakia Jafri - the widow of Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who was killed during the violence - of "collaboration" between the SIT and some of the accused.

Zaki Jafri had challenged in the top court the SIT's clean chit to 64 accused, including then Chief Minister Narendra Modi. The SIT closed its investigation in February 2012 citing "no prosecutable evidence".

"No larger conspiracy behind Gujarat riots. There is no need to keep this pot boiling... your Lordships should give closure," senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the SIT, said.

Mr Rohatgi told Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar that: "Some of the witnesses were given tutored and prepared statements by activist Teesta Setalvad."

The hearing will continue tomorrow.

In the previous hearing (held last week), Congress leader Kapil Sibal, appearing for Zakia Jafri, called the Gujarat riots "a national tragedy of gargantuan proportions", and said the SIT had not properly probed documents and the "violence which was perpetrated through design".

Mr Sibal said the SIT had not probed several aspects and materials which were available on the record and the trial court had also not examined them.

Mr Rohatgi had earlier told the court Zakia Jafri's complaint alleging a larger conspiracy had been thoroughly examined, after which the SIT concluded that there was no material to take it forward.

Earlier this month the top court objected to Zakia Jafri's allegations of collaboration between the SIT and the accused, pointing out that the investigating team had been constituted and monitored by itself.

"Collaboration is a strong term for a SIT constituted by the court," the court said in response to senior advocate Kapil Sibal (appearing for Zakia Jafri) talking about "glaring evidence of collaboration".

"(There is) glaring evidence of collaboration with the accused when it comes to the SIT. Political class also became collaborators. SIT did not probe key documents and sting operation tapes, did not seize mobile phones. Was SIT saving some people?" Mr Sibal asked.

Ehsan Jafri was among 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 submitted its closure report in February 2012 - a decade after the riots - and exonerated Prime Minister Modi and 63 others, citing "no prosecutable evidence".

The Supreme Court has started hearing this case after multiple adjournments.

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