The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the dropping of two senior Gujarat police officers from the special investigation team (SIT) probing about a dozen post-Godhra riot cases in the state.
A bench headed by Justice D.K. Jain asked SIT chief R.K. Raghvan to ensure that IPS officers Geeta Johri and Shivanad Jha are not associated with the probe or trial of various cases.
Jha, who was present in the court, objected to the order saying he could not be dammed without being heard.
Activist Teesta Setalvad and another victim had sought a stay of the trial and reconstitution of the SIT or handing over the probe to another agency. They had accused the SIT of keeping crucial evidence away from the trial court.
The order came after a two-hour hearing, during which senior counsels Ram Jethmalani and Mukul Rohtagi raised questions over the court’s orders.
Jethmalani is representing a BJP MLA and Rohtagi the Gujarat government.
As the SC indicated it would stay the trial, Rohtagi said the court couldn’t pass orders without hearing the state. He objected to the court readying itself for staying the trial after hearing arguments from amicus curiae Harish Salve, solicitor-general Gopal Subramanium and the victims’ counsel without giving the Gujarat government a chance to put across its views. “This court cannot pass any orders without hearing the state,” Rohtagi said.
The court asked the amicus curiae to share the necessary documents with the Gujarat government, which will file an affidavit within three days, and the issue of staying the trial will be heard on April 19. The court will hear the pleas of victims on April 28.
“...I am sitting here blindfolded for the last one hour. I fail to understand what’s going on here,” said Jethmalani. He termed the orders passed by the court “wrong and illegal”.