SC for independent overview of SIT report on Guj riots

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday sought an independent overview of the evidence recorded by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the alleged role of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others in the killing of Congress MP Ehsan Jafri in Ahmedabad during the 2002 riots.

The court asked senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, who is assisting it as an amicus curiae in the riot cases, to analyse the report, comments and statements of the witnesses and, if needed, interact with them to give an “objective” assessment of the evidence.

“If the amicus curiae on the basis of evidence on record finds that any offence is made out against any person he shall mention the same in the report,” a special bench comprising Justices D.K. Jain, P. Sathasivam and Aftab Alam said.

“We are not commenting on the report,” the bench said about the SIT report placed in a sealed cover before it on April 25.

The report was placed in compliance to the March 15 order of the bench which had asked the SIT to further probe the complaint filed by Ehsan Jafri’s wife Jakia Ahsan alleging that Mr. Modi, top politicians, bureaucrats and police officers had engineered the post-Godhra riots, in which her husband was also burnt alive by mobs in Gulberg Society.

While taking on record the status report filed by SIT after further probe, the bench asked Ramachandran to make an “independent” and “objective” assessment of evidence and he was free to interact with the witnesses who have recorded their evidence.

The bench in its order said “the Chairman SIT, R.K. Raghavan, furnished his comments on the investigation conducted by his team along with the report of further investigation. The statements of witnesses are also filed.

“The copies of the report, along with the comments of the Chairman, be given to the amicus curaie who shall analyse them in the light of evidence, statements of witnesses and have his independent assessment of the entire evidence which has come on record. It is open to the amicus to interact with any of the witnesses who have been examined by the SIT and also by any other police officer as deem fit by him,” it said.

After the bench passed the order, senior advocate Shanti Bhushan, appearing for Ms. Jafri, alleged a “cover-up job” was being done by the investigators.”