Eight years after the Gulbarg society massacre in Ahmedabad, investigators have summoned the most high-profile accused in the case — Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi (59) — for questioning.
The Special Investigation Team (SIT), which on April 27, 2009, was directed by the Supreme Court to probe the role of Modi and 62 others in the riots, has asked the CM to appear before it on March 21.
The court was acting on a plea filed by late Congress MP Ehsan Jafri’s widow, Zakia Jafri (66), who has accused Modi of “abetting the murder of her husband at the hands of the rioters”.
“As we had to pose a few questions to Modi, we have summoned him,” said SIT chief RK Raghavan.
This will be the first time Modi will meet any investigation agency probing the 2002 post-Godhra riots that killed 1,180 Muslims.
“Modi can choose not to appear but in the absence of legal justification, the SIT can arrest him,” Mukul Sinha, senior advocate at Gujarat High Court, told HT.
Jafri’s son Tanvir (47) welcomed the move. “Using the evidence it [SIT] should file an FIR so the probe will take a proper judicial course,” he said.
Modi has “always respected the process of law and he will act accordingly,” Jay Narayan Vyas, state minister and government spokesperson, said. But he did not answer if Modi would appear before the SIT.
The Congress wants Modi to step down. “It is perhaps the first time a CM has been summoned to appear before SIT on mass murder. It would be appropriate that he step down before appearing before the SIT,” said spokesman Manish Tiwari.