Modi faces contempt plea in Supreme Court (Lead)

May 1st, 2009 - 9:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Narendra Modi New Delhi, May 1 (IANS) A senior advocate Friday urged the Supreme Court to launch contempt of court proceedings against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his reported remarks on the court’s order to probe his role during the 2002 communal carnage in the state.
The lawsuit filed by senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, who is assisting the apex court in cases related to Gujarat communal violence of 2002, will come up for hearing next week.

Bhushan was instrumental in securing the apex court’s order of Monday for a probe into the role of Modi, his 11 cabinet colleagues, bureaucrats and police officers in aiding and abetting the communal carnage after the train coach burning tragedy at Godhra Feb 27, 2002.

The lawsuit said that a day after the court ordered the probe into his role during the violence, Modi “made a very deliberate and studied public statement alleging that the Supreme Court’s order, asking the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the complaint against him, has been done in conspiracy with the Congress and with central minister Kapil Sibal”.

The lawsuit quoted Modi as telling an election rally: “I want to speak to you on a very grave issue. The Supreme Court has once again remembered Narendra Modi. A minister in the government and a Suprene Court advocate, Kapil Sibal, had said about 15 days ago that Narendra Modi should prepare himself for going to jail.”

“And exactly 15 days later, this Supreme Court noose is put around my neck. What does this mean? A conspiracy is afoot to send Modi to jail,” the lawsuit quoted him as saying.

“In one day alone two significant bits of news come in. One, the CBI (central Bureau of Investigation) is busy trying to free a family friend of Sonia Gandhi’s - Quattrocchi. Freedom for a foreigner, and jail for a patriot… this is not good. People will now decide,” the petition quoted Modi as saying.

The petition said not only did Modi make the allegations, but his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also released full-page advertisements in Gujarati dailies repeating the remarks.

“In these circumstances, it is imperative in the interest of justice that Modi be brought to the book and held accountable for his grossly contemptuous action,” Bhushan said in his lawsuit.

“If this is not done, the Gujarat chief minister will be further encouraged to make any kind of wild allegation and statement against the apex court for his political ends,” he added.

A bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly Monday ordered the SIT, headed by former CBI director R.K. Raghvan, to probe into the role of Modi and 62 other politicians, bureaucrats and police officers of the state during the violence that claimed at least 1,180 lives.

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