Supreme Court orders probe into Modi’s role in Gujarat riots (Lead)

April 27th, 2009 - 8:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Narendra Modi New Delhi, April 27 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday ordered a special probe panel to investigate the role of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and top state officials in the 2002 communal riots and submit a report within three months.
A bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly also ordered the Raghavan Committee panel, headed by former CBI Director R.K. Raghavan, to probe the roles of 62 other top ranking politicians, bureaucrats and police officers of the state.

The others against whom the probe was ordered included, Modi’s 11 cabinet colleagues, three sitting state legislators and 38 high-ranking police officers and bureaucrats. Former state chief secretary and ex police chief are also under the scanner.

The court also directed the Raghavan panel to ascertain the role of several BJP and Shiv Sena leaders in the riots that engulfed the state after 39 Hindu pilgrims were burnt to death in a train at Godhra railway station on their way back home from a pilgrimage to Ayodhya.

The probe was ordered on a joint lawsuit by the widow, Jakia Nasim Ahesan, of former parliamentarian Ali Ahesan Jafri, who was allegedly pulled out of his house at Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad by the riotous mob and was hacked to death.

Jakia challenged a Gujarat High Court ruling of November 2007, which had rejected her plea to probe the role of Modi and others in the Gujarat riots.

She had first approached the Gujarat police and then the high court for registration of criminal cases against Modi, his erstwhile cabinet colleagues and bureaucrats, on the basis of deposition and statements made by various riot victims before a judicial panel headed by Justice G.T. Nanawati.

But the police and the high court rejected her plea saying the state authorities had registered cases to investigate various incidents which she wanted to be probed with a specific reference to role of Modi and other state authorities in aiding and abetting the riots.

The high court had also rejected her plea on the ground that the depositions made before judicial panels had no value as evidence in criminal cases and, accordingly, the material on which she relied for the registration of cases had been termed useless by the court.

Jakia had moved the apex court in December 2007 and the court first issued notice to the Gujarat government on her lawsuit March 3, 2008.

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