Congress demands Modi’s ouster after 2002 riot verdict (Lead)

April 27th, 2009 - 7:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Narendra Modi New Delhi, April 27 (IANS) The Congress party Monday welcomed as “unprecedented” the Supreme Court order for a probe into the role of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots in his state and demanded that he step down. However, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) dismissed it as political vendetta.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi termed the apex court order a “slap” on the face of the chief minister.

“It is a slap on the face of a constitutional functionary, we are not at all surprised. Modi will not be apologetic, he will not resign and nor will he start feeling that anything went wrong in his state,” Singhvi said.

Reacting to the court order, BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley said: “This has become a tradition that a Gujarat related issue is raised before the elections.”

A grim-faced Modi, however, refused to reply to persistent questions by a TV reporter on whether he had anything to say or would apologise. He tersely said that he has spoken on the issue before.

Terming the apex court directive to the Special Investigating Team (SIT) to probe Modi’s role in the 2002 riots as “constitutionally unprecedented”, Singhvi said: “He should have resigned, not now but seven years ago.”

“Ultimately this is the true face which needs to be exposed before the public, the true intent of the party which calls itself a responsible opposition,” Singhvi added.

He also said that this was the first time that all the cases pertaining to the 2002 riots were collectively transferred out of the state and the apex court has asked the role of the chief minister of the state to be probed.

The Supreme Court Monday asked the SIT to look into allegations that Modi along with over 50 other politicians and government officials had aided and abetted statewide communal riots in 2002.

A bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and Asok Kumar Ganguly directed the SIT panel headed by former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director R.K. Raghavan to particularly look into allegations that Modi was involved in the killing of Congress MP Ehsan Jafri in Ahmedabad’s Gulbarga Society arson case.

The SIT was asked to file its report within three months.

The decision came on a plea filed by the wife of Ehsan Jafri and social activist Teesta Setalvad.

Congress spokesperson M. Veerappa Moily, reacting to the apex court order, said: “Narendra Modi will have to step down for justice to be done.”

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