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HC concludes hearing in Zakia Jafri’s plea against Narendra Modi, others

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat high court has concluded hearing a petition filed by Zakia Jafri, widow of slain former MP Ehsan Jafri, challenging a clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the former chief minister of Gujarat, and others in 2002 riots cases.

Justice Sonia Gokani on Friday concluded the hearing while allowing filing of a written submission by Jafri’s lawyer Mihir Desai on 19 June and a reply by the Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team on 3 July, before pronouncing the judgement. Zakia Jafri had moved the HC against a closure report filed by SIT on the issue of a larger criminal conspiracy involving Modi and others behind the 2002 riots cases.

Her husband Ehsan Jafri was one of the victims of the riots as a mob had set their house in city’s Gulberg Society on fire. Senior counsel representing the SIT, C.S. Vaidyanathan, said in his concluding argument that the SIT report challenged by Jafri was based on investigation conducted under the watchful eye of the apex court and was largely accepted by all. He said the lower court had looked into all aspects of allegations to conclude that there was no further need to investigate the matter from a larger conspiracy angle.

Desai said the magistrate who accepted the SIT’s closure report did not even think of other options like rejecting the report or order a fresh probe. The criminal review petition by Zakia Jafri and NGO Citizen for Justice and Peace, run by activist Teesta Setalvad, has demanded to make Modi and 59 others as accused on charges of criminal conspiracy behind the riots. Zakia also prayed for the rejection of the closure report of the Supreme Court-appointed SIT gave a clean chit to Modi and others.

In December 2013, a metropolitan court had rejected Zakia Jafri’s plea to book Modi and others for criminal conspiracy, after which she moved the HC in 2014. The SIT had on 8 February 2012 filed a closure report, giving a clean chit to Modi and others in the case.

On 28 February 2002, 68 people, including Ehsan Jafri, were killed by a mob at Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad.