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Gujarat High Court rejects Zakia Jafri’s plea against clean chit to Modi

The Gujarat High Court on Thursday rejected a petition filed by Zakia Jafri, widow of slain Congress leader Ehsan Jafri, challenging a lower court order upholding a clean chit to the then chief minister Narendra Modi and others in the 2002 riots cases.

The hearing of the petition before Justice Sonia Gokani had concluded on July 3 this year.

Jafri and activist Teesta Setalvad’s NGO Citizen for Justice and Peace had moved the criminal review petition against a magistrate’s order upholding the clean chit given by the SIT to Modi and others regarding the allegations of a “larger criminal conspiracy” behind the riots.

The petition demanded that Modi and 59 others – including senior police officers and bureaucrats – be made accused of allegedly being part of a conspiracy which facilitated the riots.

It also sought the high court’s direction for fresh investigation into the matter.

Ehsan was among 68 people who were killed at the Gulbarg Society in Gujarat when a mob attacked it on February 28, 2002, a day after the Godhra train burning incident which set off riots in the state.

The SIT submitted before the high court that its probe was conducted under the Supreme Court’s watchful eye, and its report was largely accepted by all.

The lower court looked into all aspects of allegations to conclude that there was no further need to investigate the matter from the angle of “larger conspiracy”, the SIT argued.

Jafri’s lawyer Mihir Desai argued in the HC that the magistrate while accepting the SIT’s closure report, did not even consider other options such as rejecting the report or ordering a fresh probe.

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