Slain Congress parliamentarian Ehsan Jafri’s family is “hurt, but not disappointed” with the Ahmedabad metropolitan court order in the 2002 Gujarat riots case.
The Jafri family is now mulling options to take the legal battle against Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to the next level.
“We will approach higher courts,” Tanveer Jafri, the slain Congress MP’s son, said.
Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) prime minister nominee in the 2014 general elections welcomed the verdict, saying, “ Truth alone triumphs!”
“Satyamev Jayete!” he tweeted.
The court on Thursday upheld the clean chit to Modi given by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by the Supreme Court.
“Mr Modi can take it easy for the next 20 days, but not longer,” Mihir Desai, the Jafri family’s lawyer, said, hinting at fresh legal action soon.
“We can go to sessions court, then to high court and then to the Supreme Court,” he added.
Ehsan’s wife Zakia pledged to carry on the battle. “I am not going to lose hope. I will take the case to a higher court.”
Zakia had challenged the SIT findings. Her husband was among the 69 people charred in Gulbarg Society, a cluster of 29 bungalows and 10 apartment buildings housing upper middle class families — mostly belonging to the Muslim community, on February 28, 2002.
Zakia has alleged that “Modi instructed top officials to allow Hindus to vent their anger on Muslims after the Godhra train burning incident”.
“We are up against the government. It’s a long fight… According to us, evidence gathered by SIT was enough to implicate,” Desai claimed.
But, SIT lawyer RS Jamuar told reporters outside the court, “"This means that the court has accepted the SIT's report.”
Relaxed after the court upholding the clean chit to Modi ahead of the 2014 general elections, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said, “Truth has prevailed. The conspiracy and falsehood to implicate Shri Narendra Modi… stands exposed.”
Jaitley, the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, added, “The Congress Party and its sponsored NGOs are unable to fight Narendra Modi politically. They used falsehood in court against him, but failed.”
Keeping the upcoming polls in mind, he hinted the order was a morale booster for the BJP.
“Modi goes into the 2014 campaign untainted by propaganda, the verdict has proved that propaganda can never be a substitute for truth.”
Party leader Meenakshi Lekhi said Congress leaders were suffering from "Modiphobia".
The Ahmedabad court breather to the Gujarat chief minister, however, comes on a day when the Union cabinet ordered the setting up of a commission of inquiry into the alleged snooping on a young woman at the behest of then state home minister Amit Shah, known to be a Modi aide.