‘No larger conspiracy behind Gujarat riots’: SC rejects Zakia Jafri plea against clean chit to Modi

Top court says, "(Charge) of larger criminal conspiracy at highest level stands collapsed like a house of cards"

Agreeing with the findings of the Special Investigation Team appointed by it that there was no “larger conspiracy” behind the 2002 Gujarat riots, the Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the appeal filed by Zakia Jafri challenging the SIT’s clean chit to Narendra Modi, who was then the state’s chief minister, and others in cases related to the riots.

A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and C T Ravikumar said “the SIT has not found any conspiracy, linking separate and disparate acts of arson and looting or outrageous claims made in sting operations or individual utterances/ publications of purported hate speech, to any singular larger conspiracy or planned event”.

The bench ruled: “The materials gathered during the investigation in no way link any ‘meeting of the minds’ in any of the nine cases investigated by the SIT or for that matter, other incidents alleged in the complaint or the protest petition. The riots across the state had taken place spontaneously, immediately after the Godhra train carnage.”

It said that “no material was discovered pointing towards any meeting of minds/ conspiracy in the higher echelons of the administration or (that) the political establishment conspired with other persons to cause such riots or (it) turned a Nelson’s eye when the riots had triggered and continued”.

The court also said the SIT probe has “fully exposed” the “falsity of claims” made by “disgruntled officials” of Gujarat “to create sensation by making revelations which were false” and said that “all those involved in such abuse of process, need to be in the dock”.

The court upheld the decision of the Ahmedabad Metropolitan Magistrate to accept “as it is” the final SIT report dated February 8, 2012, and reject the protest petition filed by Jafri. It said the appeal by Jafri against the October 5, 2017 Gujarat High Court order upholding the lower court’s decision was “devoid of merits”. Jafri’s husband Ehsan Jafri, a Congress MP, was killed during the riots.

In its ruling, the apex court said that “no fault can be found with the approach of the SIT in submitting the final report…which is backed by firm logic, expositing analytical mind and dealing with all aspects objectively for discarding the allegations regarding larger criminal conspiracy (at the highest level) for causing and precipitating mass violence across the state against the minority community during the relevant period”.

The SIT, it said, “has gone by the logic of falsity of the information or material and including the same remaining uncorroborated”.

The Indian Express

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