Eight years after the post-Godhra riots, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was on Saturday questioned about his alleged role in the violence by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) in two sessions, including one lasting more than five hours.
After a marathon first session that began at noon and ended a little past 5 pm, Modi left the SIT office, located in the heart of Gandhinagar, telling mediapersons that he would come back in the evening. At 9 pm, he returned to the SIT office for further questioning as he wanted to “try and complete” the exercise on Saturday.
Though there was no official word on the two sessions, Modi is said to have replied to 62 of the 68 questions put to him in the first session.
Modi claimed he had answered all questions put by SIT. “Vistaar se baatcheet ki (We spoke in detail),” he said. “Under the Indian Constitution, law is supreme. As a common man, CM, I am bound by the Constitution and law. No one can be above the law,” he said.
SIT chief R.K. Raghavan was not present in his office when Modi appeared in response to the panel’s summons. A team of officers headed by the SIT's second-in-command A K Malhotra, a former CBI DIG, questioned him.
Modi became the first CM to be questioned in a criminal complaint of mass murder after he and his administration were accused of abetting riots.
He had been summoned by the SIT last week following the SC's nod to question him. The court order came on a petition by Zakia Jafferey, widow of ex-MP Ehsan Jafferey who was killed in Gulbarg society in 2002 along with 69 others. Zakia had alleged that despite calls made by her husband to Modi, he failed to send any police team.
“My appearance here is a kada jawab (fitting reply) to my detractors ,” Modi said.