Zakia Jafri, 79, had approached the high court in March 2014 against a lower court verdict accepting the SIT’s report, which concluded that then Chief Minister Modi took all possible steps to control the riots that swept through Gujarat after coaches of the Sabarmati Express train were set afire at Godhra station in the state, killing 59 people.
In a setback for Zakia Jafri, the Gujarat High Court on Thursday upheld the closure report that gave a clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 61 others in 2002 post-Godhra riots case. The court also dismissed Jafri’s allegation against the accused that the riots were part of a larger conspiracy. The court, however, said that Jafri’s plea succeeds as far as her demand of fresh investigation was concerned before the magisterial court.
“The trial court has self-limited itself in saying that further investigation, in this case, can’t be ordered. This order of lower court deserves interference. So, the petitioner can raise the issue before the concerned court that is the same magisterial court, the division bench of the high court or the Supreme Court,” Justice Sonia Gokani said.
Justice Gokani while pronouncing the order said that the magisterial court, which first accepted the closure report, was wrong in its judgment that it didn’t have the power to order a fresh investigation. “The court doesn’t believe in the larger conspiracy theory propounded by the petitioners as the Supreme Court has monitored the investigation,” Justice Gokani said.
Zakia had moved the high court in 2014 against a closure report filed by the Supreme Court-appointed SIT on the issue of a larger criminal conspiracy involving Modi and others behind 2002 riots cases. Her husband Ahsan Jafri was one of the 69 victims of the riots as a mob had set their house in city’s Gulberg Society on fire.
The SIT had filed a closure report against Modi and other accused after an investigation. It said that there was not enough material to prosecute Modi and other accused. The SIT didn’t believe the testimony of former IPS officers Sanjiv Bhatt and RB Sreekumar among others. Besides, SIT also said in its investigation that the allegations were vague in nature and there was no concrete evidence against the accused.