Gujarat to challenge probe by apex court panel against Modi

July 30th, 2009 - 8:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Narendra Modi New Delhi, July 30 (IANS) The Gujarat government Thursday told the Supreme Court that it was set to challenge the court’s April 27 order for a probe into the role of Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 62 politicians as well as bureaucrats in the communal violence of 2002.
Senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for the Gujarat government, stated this to judges D.K. Jain, P. Sathasivam and Aftab Alam while objecting the court’s move to extend the tenure of the special probe panel, headed by former CBI director R.K. Raghvan, till Dec 31.

Rohtagi objected to the court’s move saying the “very constitution of the (probe) panel had been prejudicial to our interest.

“The Special Investigative Team (SIT) had been working beyond the mandate of the April 27 order of the court,” said Rohtagi, adding that the state government was to move the court against the constitution of the panel.

At this the bench said: “We are not going to stop the investigation as the SIT is functioning only on the court’s order passed earlier.”

The probe against Modi and 62 others had been ordered on a lawsuit by Jakia Nasim Ahesan, widow of former Congress MP Ali Ahesan Jafri, “who was pulled out of his house at Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad by a riotous mob and brutally hacked to death”.

The probe against Modi and others was assigned to the panel headed by Raghavan, who was entrusted earlier also with the task of probing nine major riot cases in the state following the Godhra train burning that ignited the 2002 violence.

The apex court had constituted the panel to probe the nine cases while adjudicating a plea by the National Human Rights Commission, which moved the court for a CBI probe into those cases.

While assigning the task of probing the role of Modi and 62 others, the apex court had asked the probe panel to keep it informed of its findings every quarter.

The panel had also sought extension of its tenure on the grounds that it was yet to complete its task. The bench agreed, brushing aside the state government’s objections.

The court rejected the plea by another senior counsel Prashant Bhushan, who wanted the court not to extend the panel’s tenure till Dec 31 in one go. He wanted the court to extend the same only up to Oct 31 so that the panel remains “under pressure” to complete its task at the earliest.

The bench also rejected Bhushan’s plea to take up the hearing of his lawsuit, seeking contempt to court proceedings against Modi for allegedly saying that the apex court passed its April order in collusion with the Congress party.

The court said the lawsuit would be listed in due course for hearing.

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