Gujarat riots witnesses not tutored: SIT
The Special Investigation Team (SIT), probing major cases of 2002 anti-Muslim Gujarat riots on Tuesday slammed reports that riots witnesses were tutored to give false evidence for exaggeration of the situation, by activists and organisations helping the victims.
The SIT rebuttal followed the alleged leak of its report recently, which was submitted to the Supreme Court in March. “The findings of the report have concentrated on the investigations into the cases and it was not our business to indulge in the blame game and level allegations,” a senior SIT official said.
The SIT response to the reported leak came on a day, when the Supreme Court termed the leak as a “betrayal of the faith reposed in those to whom the report was allowed access”.
A news story in an English daily last week claimed access to the confidential SIT report, and allegedly quoted from it, that the “rights activists cooked up macabre tales of wanton killings”. It further stated 22 witnesses who had “submitted identical affidavits relating to riots were found tutored.”
Asked about the leaked contents of the report, the SIT chief, R. K. Raghavan told Hindustan Times that he could not confirm whether the leaked contents were true.
“I am answerable only to the Supreme Court. The alleged reported leaks appear to be inspired by dubious motives. I cannot confirm such claims. The act is highly condemnable,” Raghavan said.
Raghavan, a former CBI chief, said the priority for the SIT, which was formed on the orders of the Supreme Court in March last year, now was “to ensure a free, fair and speedy trials of the riots cases investigated by the team.”
The SIT sources said the alleged leaks appear to have been based on statements of state police officials and “cannot be termed as findings of the report.”
The secret contents of the SIT report, on the basis of which BJP leader and former Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani was arrested, have been a topic of high speculation.
The SIT has probed one of the worst riots in the country in recent years, the official toll for which now has been revised to 1180.