Congress on Monday attacked Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for not appearing before the Supreme Court-appointed SIT in connection with a 2002 riots case, saying it only proves he has "guilty conscience" and has a "lot to hide".
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said if Modi "genuinely" has respect for law and the court, he should appear before the SIT within the given time.
"Otherwise it will indicate that he has lot to hide. His non-appearance will only prove "guilty conscience," Singhvi said while commenting on Modi not appearing before SIT on Sunday when he was summoned for questioning.
Modi was summoned by the SIT in connection with a complaint filed by Zakia Jaffery, wife of slain former MP Eshan Jaffrey in the 2002 Gulburg society riots case. The former Congress MP was killed along with 69 others by a mob at Gulburg society in Ahmedabad in February 2002.
Singhvi said both the BJP and Modi have "always pretended" that they have great respect for law. "If they really mean what they say and say what they mean, we hope Modi will abide by the Supreme Court and appear before the SIT," he added.
He rejected suggestions that the notice by the SIT has no statutory power and said that the agency is empowered by the apex court to issue summons.
"Defiance of such summons would be contemptuousm," he said but added that that it was for the Supreme Court to take cognizance.
The spokesman said the decision to refer the case to SIT and asking it to inquire into Zakia's complaint was a kind of "no-confidence" in the state administrative machinery.
He said the move aimed at ensuring a speedy, free and fearless investigation of the cases.
"If Modi has nothing to hide, if he has no cover up to do, he should ensure his appearance and there should be no excuse for delaying it," Singhvi said.
The Supreme Court, had on April 27 last year, asked the SIT to inquire into Zakia's complaint in which she has alleged that Modi and 62 others, including his cabinet colleagues, police officials and senior bureaucrats aided and abetted the riots which left over 1,000 people dead.
The SIT has not received any communication from the state government regarding the summons issued on March 11, sources in the investigating team said.