SIT to Supreme Court on Zakia Jafri’s plea in 2002 Gujarat riots – ‘Plan to keep pot boiling’

“This court should bring this case to a conclusion. The SIT, represented by senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, stated that “more suffering should not be endured at the behest of the second petitioner (Setalvad), who wishes to keep the pot boiling.”
New Delhi, India: A special investigation team (SIT) told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that there is a sinister plot behind the complaint to investigate the “larger conspiracy” behind the 2002 Gujarat riots, and that the original complaint by Zakia Ahsan Jafri was directed by social activist Teesta Setalvad, who levelled allegations just to keep the pot boiling.

The SIT, which took up Zakia’s lawsuit in 2011 after receiving an order from the Supreme Court, issued a closing report in February 2012, clearing 63 people and ruling out any state or government conspiracies. One of the people exonerated was Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was Gujarat’s chief minister at the time.

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“What was started by the complainant (Zakia) is now being directed by Teesta Setalvad who is being joined by RB Sreekumar (former Gujarat police chief) in making all kinds of allegations against all people with the singular motive to keep the pot boiling,” the SIT, represented by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, said in defending its findings.

Rohatgi stated that the top court should put a stop to the case in the ongoing processes, in which both Zakia and Setalvad are contesting a Gujarat high court judgement from October 2017 refusing to reopen the SIT’s closure report. “This court should bring this case to a conclusion. “There should be no more anguish at the behest of the second petitioner (Setalvad), who wishes to keep the kettle boiling,” he remarked.

When the subject was sent to the SIT for inquiry by the top court in September 2011, Rohatgi added, “this court saw the tears of a victim of Gulbarga Society.” He was alluding to Zakia’s husband, former Congress MP Ahsan Jafri, who was killed during the rioting at Gulbarga Society.

“See what type of devious conspiracy is coming forth; her complaint mentioned 63 people, and her appeal before the Gujarat high court included another 50 names.” “You can see the evil purpose in this case at every stage,” Rohatgi added, pointing to the 1,200-page protest petition. No ordinary person could possibly sign such a large protest petition.”

Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari, and CT Ravikumar instructed Rohatgi to present this information in the form of a chart. “Give us bullet points on how the complaint was improved,” the bench said, “first before the trial court, then before the high court, and ultimately before the Supreme Court.”

The SIT provided additional evidence of the suspected scheme by pointing to three witnesses who came to the SIT to depose their statements while they were investigating Zakia’s allegation. “They brought prepared statements to be recorded,” says the narrator. Because the procedure required the investigating officer to take a statement on the spot, they gave alternate names to the accused when questioned. “They then admitted that Teesta Setalvad gave them the prepared statements,” Rohatgi said.

“These are ramblings made on fictional matters,” the SIT said, denying assertions made by the petitioners – Zakia and Setalvad – concerning the Godhra train burning, parade of dead corpses, late reaction by the administration to call the army, and remarks by police officials. In the air, the petitioner is drawing castles. These are difficult-to-believe claims with no basis in fact that raise questions for no reason.”

“Obviously, there was a failure of administration,” Rohatgi said, “since they were overrun on the day the riots erupted,” adding, “Ultimately, you can say police was complacent and charge them with dereliction of duty, but there is no criminal plot.”

On Thursday, he will resume his submissions.

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