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Legal help for team probing Gujarat riots

The Supreme Court on Tuesday nominated two senior advocates to provide legal assistance to the five-member special investigating team (SIT) that is probing 14 post-Godhra riots cases in Gujarat.
By Bhadra Sinha | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUN 18, 2008 01:22 AM IST

The Supreme Court on Tuesday nominated two senior advocates to provide legal assistance to the five-member special investigating team (SIT) that is probing 14 post-Godhra riots cases in Gujarat.

A bench of Justices Arijit Passayat and G.S. Singhvi ordered the SIT to seek assistance from Solicitor General G.E. Vahanvati and senior advocate K.G. Menon of the Mumbai High Court.

The court’s order follows a request send to it by the SIT. The team headed by former CBI director R.K. Raghavan had posted a request letter directly to the court that is seized of a petition seeking transfer of post-Godhra riots cases. Six years after the petition was filed, the court on March 25 had constituted the special committee and directed it to conduct a deeper probe into the 14 cases. The special bench is not monitoring the SIT probe as well.

According to the order, the SIT has to submit its report within three months to the magistrate before whom the cases are pending. A report shall also be given to the Supreme Court.

Besides Raghavan, three serving IPS officers from Gujarat, including Geeta Johri who probed the Soharabuddin fake encounter case and a retired IPS officer, are the team members.

Prior to order, the Congress-led UPA government had supported the petitioner’s request for a CBI inquiry into the cases. However, the court did not consider the plea and preferred to constitute a special committee. It also turned down the Gujarat government’s request to exclude outsiders from the committee.

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