Did not protect anybody in 2002 post-Godhra riots, left no stone unturned: SIT to prime court docket

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) arrange by Supreme Court to inquire into instances of communal violence throughout 2002 post-Godhra riots on Wednesday advised the highest court docket that it had not shielded anybody and rued that “uncharitable” remarks have been being made in opposition to it.

“We were not shielding anybody,” senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi, showing for the SIT, advised a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar.

Rohatgi was responding to costs by Zakia Jafri, spouse of former Congress MP Ahsan Jafri, who was killed through the riots, accusing the SIT of bias and overlooking proof.

Rohatgi identified that SC, whereas organising the SIT on March 26, 2008, had stated it’s going to report the assertion of any one that wished to present it, and invited statements by issuing newspaper ads. Yet, he stated, “uncharitable remarks (are being made) against SIT”.

His reference was to allegations by Jafri’s counsel, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, that the SIT had not recorded the testimony of a number of essential witnesses.

“SIT examined 275 witnesses, did not leave any stone unturned,” Rohatgi stated, and referred to the arrest and conviction of former Gujarat minister Mayaben Kodnani. “She was arrested and convicted and was in jail for a number of years. If the SIT was partisan, I dare say it would not have arrested a sitting cabinet minister.”

The bench, additionally comprising Justices Dinesh Maheswhwari and C T Ravikumar, is listening to Jafri’s enchantment difficult the October 5, 2017 Gujarat High Court order upholding the Ahmedabad Metropolitan Magistrate Court’s determination to just accept the SIT’s closure report, which gave a clear chit to then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and 63 others in riots-related instances.

Rohatgi additionally denied costs that there was any delay in calling the Army. “She (Jafri) says the Army was delayed. It’s an allegation against the state and Centre. It’s completely baseless. The fax went at 2 pm on February 28, 2002 and the Army was redeployed…. They came at night, were airlifted…”

On Sibal’s argument that SIT had not seized any cellphones throughout its probe, Rohatgi stated, “(the contention is that) a mobile phone used in 2002, SIT should take it from them in 2010, 2011, 2012. Phones of that era were nascent — (they had) no WhatsApp, no camera. Who would keep a phone for 10 years?”

He additionally responded to claims that the SIT didn’t seize name information information (CDR) or Police Control Room information: “No company keeps CDR for nine years. Manual requires destruction of PCR records after five years.”

Jafri had contended that our bodies of these killed within the Godhra practice tragedy have been handed over to a personal particular person, Jaydeep Patel of VHP, and that the SIT didn’t probe this.

Rohatgi stated the our bodies recognized have been to be handed over to kinfolk, and people not recognized have been to be despatched to Sola hospital in Ahmedabad. He stated Jaydeep Patel was solely to accompany them.

On the allegation that the SIT had not probed why two ministers went into the police management room in Ahmedabad through the riots, Rohatgi stated it was investigated. “Based on this, SIT came to the conclusion that only one minister visited and he was sitting in a separate room.” He stated it’s a matter of apply {that a} minister goes to the management room and added that “presence of minister will only help morale of police, that he is not hiding in his house”.

Rohatgi identified that Jafri’s petition attracts extensively on statements of former ADGP R B Sreekumar and stated, “It appears that he turned against the government after he as superseded.”

“Testimony of Sreekumar is motivated. He clandestinely recorded conversations with the Home Secretary, etc…. He kept all this a closely guarded secret till he was superseded,” he advised the court docket. “Why did it surface for the first time in 2005?”

On Sreekumar’s competition that curfew was not imposed on the fateful day to facilitate parading of the our bodies of Godhra victims, Rohatgi stated Sreekumar was posted as Additional DGP (Intelligence) “only from April 9, 2002 — two months after (the) riots. Before this, he was Additional DGP (Armed Unit)…. So he had no knowledge…he had nothing to do with the law and order issue.”

“(He was) posted much after the riots, (yet) he says curfew was not imposed to facilitate parading. How does he know,” Rohatgi questioned.

The senior counsel additionally stated that though then Bhavnagar Superintendent of Police Rahul Sharma was named within the authentic grievance of Jafri, his identify was lacking from the enchantment. “I submit that it is a deliberate omission,” he stated. “Let me read the accusation. He is an IPS officer. Abetted breakdown of governance. Why is it missing? Because today Mr Sibal argues he is a hero.”

During his arguments, Sibal had stated that Sharma in his assertion to the Nanavati fee acknowledged that cellphones have been utilized in a giant means within the riots and requested, “here is a police officer saying mobile phones were used. Then why did you not seize the mobile phones? The call records were never investigated.”

Sharma, Sibal stated, additionally narrated how political leaders approached him for bail of accused and contended that “this shows political interference”.

“Today he (Rahul Sharma) is their hero. They are saying he was targeted in 2011. Now, they are saying that he did the right thing,” Rohatgi stated. He added that in keeping with Jafri, Sharma was transferred as a matter of punishment.

Rohatgi stated it’s for the federal government to determine the place a police officer’s companies are wanted. “He was transferred from Bhavnagar to Ahmedabad. Otherwise (if it was by way of punishment), he should have been transferred to some godforsaken place,” Rohatgi submitted.

The arguments remained inconclusive and can proceed Thursday.

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