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Modi free of riot charges

india Updated: Dec 04, 2010 02:00 IST
HT Correspondent

With the Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team reportedly finding no evidence of his role in the Gulberg Society massacre during the 2002 riots, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi seems to be free of any charges, at least for now.

The riots, in which more than 1,200 people were killed, had earned Modi flak from his own party bosses, including then Prime Minister AB Vajpayee, and the Supreme Court.

Gujarat government spokesperson Jaynarayan Vyas refused to comment on the reported SIT clean chit, while the SIT chief, former CBI director RK Raghavan, was not available on his mobile.

However, the state government-appointed inquiry commission, headed by former Supreme Court judge GT Nanavaty, has not summoned Modi despite getting more than a dozen extensions.

Human rights lawyer Mukul Sinha, who represents a section of riots victims, said, "We have challenged the commission's decision of not summoning the chief minister. The petition is now pending in the Gujarat High Court."

The SIT had concluded in its initial report to the Supreme Court that there was "evidence to frame Narendra Modi and 62 others based on the complaint filed by Zakia Jafri in the Gulberg Society massacre case."

Zakia Jafri, widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who, with 69 others, was killed in the massacre, alleged in her complaint that Modi and 62 others aided and abetted the rioters.

The apex court then asked the SIT on April 27, 2009 to probe Zakia Jafri's complaint. The SIT filed its report to the apex court about a week ago.

A police official, who was part of the SIT, said since "all the allegations mentioned in the complaint by Jafri are general in nature", it cannot be treated as evidence to initiate criminal proceedings.

The wife of the slain Congress leader had alleged that between February and May 2002, there was a "deliberate and intentional failure" of the state to protect the life and property of innocent citizens.