Apex court appoints two more officials to Gujarat probe panel

May 15th, 2009 - 7:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Narendra Modi New Delhi, May 15 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday included two more former police officers in a special panel it constituted last year to probe crucial cases of the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat
Former Central Bureau of Investigation special director Paramveer Singh and former CBI DIG A.K. Malhotra have been appointed to the Special Investigation Team (SIT).

With this, the probe panel now has six police officers including Geetha Johri, Shivanand Jha and Ashish Bhatia, all with the rank of inspector general in the Gujarat police.

A bench of Justices D.K. Jain, P. Sathasivam and Aftab Alam modified the composition of the panel on a plea by its chairman and former CBI director R.K. Raghvan to relieve former Uttar Pradesh police chief C.D. Sathpathy, who has gone abroad, from his assignment in the team.

Raghvan had approached the court seeking appointment of two more officials on the grounds that while Sathpathy was unwilling to resume his work, the task of the panel has been considerable enhanced owing to a recent order of the Supreme Court.

The court last month ordered constitution of six fast-track courts to conduct the trial of 10 riot cases as the SIT had completed their investigation.

The court also asked the panel to assess the threat perception to the witnesses and provide them security.

Earlier, the court had asked the panel to probe the role of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 62 politicians, bureaucrats and police officers of the state in the state-wide communal violence.

The new probe was assigned to the panel on a lawsuit by Jakia Nasim Ahesan, widow of former MP Ali Ahesan Jafri, who was killed by a mob at his home in Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad.

At least 1,180 people were killed in the violence sparked by the burning of a train bogie at Godhra Feb 27, 2002.

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