Zakia Jafri’s petition challenging the acquittals by SIT in 2002 Gujarat riots case adjourned to mid-January

SIT had concluded that there was "no prosecutable evidence" against Modi and others named in the case

The Supreme Court of India on Monday postponed the hearing till mid-January on the petition filed by Zakia Jafri challenging the clean chit given by the Special Investigation Team to the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi. Zakia Jafri’s husband Ehsan Jafri was killed by a mob which attacked Gulberg society during 2002 riots in Ahmedabad.

Zakia Jafri had lodged a petition in the apex court on October 5, 2017, challenging the Gujarat High Court’s judgment which upheld the clean chit given to politicians and officials by the SIT in its conclusion, citing lack of “prosecutable evidence” against them. The Gujarat High Court maintained the investigation of the Special Investigation Team, giving a clean chit to 64 people including Narendra Modi. According to Ms Jafri, the Gujarat High Court “erroneously” upheld the Magistrate Court order absolving all accused.

Senior advocate Mukul Rastogi, representing SIT argued in the SC that Zakia’s case was unsustainable and that “it was an issue of fact and for how long it can go on.” Solicitor General Tushar Malhotra claimed that the parallel findings by the subordinate courts and High court led to the rejection of Zakia’s petition in the past as well.

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The apex court bench comprising of Judges A M Khanwilkar and Hemant Gupta adjourned the matter for hearing in the third week of January 2019. Earlier, the hearing was deferred for a week on November 26. Before that the hearing on the matter was deferred by a week on November 19.

Ehsan Jafri and 68 others were brutally killed by the mob in the aftermath of the Godhra train burning. The mob barged in the Muslim dominated Gulberg Society of Ahmedabad and killed 69 people. In 2006, the police filed a case against Modi, some ministers and officials in response to a complaint filed by Zakia.

On April 27, 2009, the Supreme Court ordered SIT to take action on the complaint of Zakia. SIT investigated the case and a filed closure report in 2012. The closure report cited that no substantial evidence was found against Modi or other accused officials.

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