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HindustanTimes Wed,16 Apr 2014

Gulberg case: SC restrains order on SIT report

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 17, 2013
First Published: 23:44 IST(17/1/2013) | Last Updated: 23:50 IST(17/1/2013)

The Supreme Court on Thursday restrained a trial court from pronouncing its final order on the closure report of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in the 2002 Gulberg Housing Society riots case of Ahmedabad.

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A bench of Justice DK Jain, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam stated: "The final order on the closure report would not be pronounced."

The court's order came on the plea of Zakia Jafri, slain Congress leader Ehsan Jafri's widow, seeking copies of essential documents to enable her to file a protest petition against the SIT's closure report in the riot case, which had allegations being made against Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi too. It also issued a notice to the Gujarat government, seeking its response to Zakia's plea.

An Ahmedabad trial court, on November 27, accepted the SIT closure report filed on March 13, 2012 in the case after refusing to give Zakia more time to file a protest petition against it.

She wants to file the petition because the closure report gives a clean chit to the Gujarat chief minister.

She appealed to Supreme Court against the trial court's order, which rejected her plea that sought copies of documents relating to the investigation in the case — including a report filed by AK Malhotra, one of the SIT members. According to Zakia, the documents were part of the report filed by SIT before the trial court.

In a development related to the post-Godhra riots of 2002, senior advocate Harish Salve proposed moving an application to "relocate" key witnesses of the massacre, and continue providing them with security cover. Salve has been assisting the court in the matter.

The senior counsel mooted the idea to relocate crucial witnesses after the court was told that the police commissioner had suggested withdrawal of the security cover provided to the witnesses, considering that the trial into the cases concerned had ended.

The bench also expressed surprise that Justice GT Nanavati Commission, set up by the Gujarat government to inquire into the riots, has summoned the SIT members and is asking for its report, despite the apex court making it clear that the probe panel's report should be placed only before it.

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