The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday termed the apex court order to probe the role of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots as a "convention" that cropped up ahead of elections and said it would not be able to find anything against the BJP leader.
"It has become a convention during the last 10 years to raise the issue of Gujarat riots in and outside the court," BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley told reporters here.
"The Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the Supreme Court had submitted 10 reports, including on the Gulbarg Society (riots), and not a single one mentions Modi. Not even a whisper," he added.
Jaitley was reacting to the apex court direction to the SIT, appointed by it to re-investigate nine Gujarat riots cases, to inquire into the role of Narendra Modi in the Gulbarg Society attack and giving the investigators three months to finish the job. The attack in 2002 had left 64 people dead, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri.
Jaitley asserted that this inquiry would not be able to find anything against Modi, like earlier ones.
"Even during the 2007 assembly elections in Gujarat, the Sohrabuddin case was raised on the eve of the polls."
"Similarly, the Justice Banerjee Commission came out with an accident conclusion on the Sabarmati (Express) train attack in Godhra," Jaitley said.
Sohrabuddin Sheikh was killed in a staged gunbattle with the Gujarat police, which had accused him of being a terrorist. A senior police official was jailed for it three years later in 2007.
The Justice U.C. Banerjee Commission was appointed by Railways Minister Lalu Prasad to probe the burning of the Sabarmati Express in Godhra on Feb 27, 2002, which triggered communal riots in the state. The commission in its report in 2006 said the attack was actually an accident.