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SC to reconsider order to probe Modi, 62 others

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 06:17:06 AM, Agencies

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SIT quizzes former Gujarat BJP leader

New Delhi: Ahead of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's appearance before the SIT, a sitting BJP MLA on Monday approached the Supreme Court challenging its order entrusting to the special team probe into a 2002 riots case.


A Special three-judge Bench headed by Justice D K Jain said it will consider the application filed by the BJP MLA Kalubhai Maliwad, an accused along with 63 persons including Modi in the complaint filed by Zakia Jafri, wife of Congress leader Ehsaan Jafri who was killed in the riots at the Gulbarga society in Ahmedabad.


"We have to consider whether the order in entirety can be recalled," the Bench, also comprising Justices P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam, said after senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for the MLA, contended that the complaint was handed over to the SIT without hearing any of the 63 accused.


"The target of the case in the matter is accused number one (Narendra Modi)," he said adding that he was seeking recall of the April 27, 2009 order handing over to the SIT, the complaint filed by Jafri in which she has accused Modi and 62 others of aiding and abetting the persons involved in the killings of 2002 riots that followed the Godhra carnage.


"The order for SIT probe is not in the interest of law and justice as the document is not a complaint for cognizance as the accused number 13 (Maliwad) was not heard," he said about the complaint in which SIT headed by former CBI Chief R K Ragahavan has summoned Modi to appear before it for questioning on March 21.


The bench decided to reconsider its probe order against Modi and others after senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Maliwal, contended that the order was issued against his client without according him and others, including Modi, an opportunity to have their say on the matter.


The probe was ordered on a joint lawsuit by Zakia Nasim Ehsan, the widow of former Congress parliamentarian Ali Ehsan Jaffri who was pulled out of his house at Gulbarg Society in Ahmedabad by a mob and hacked to death.


Zakia had come to the apex court challenging a November 2007 Gujarat High Court ruling which rejected her plea to probe the role of Modi and others in the Gujarat riots.


“Every person has a right to be heard. To send all cases of 63 persons without hearing them was against the settled principles of law. It has never happened in the history of the Supreme Court,” Jethmalani contended.


“There are at least seven judgments by the Supreme Court to this effect,” he said.


The former union law minister also contended that the apex court had ended up ordering probe against Modi and 62 others even without Jaffri’s widow asking for it.


“It’s not possible for the court to exceed the prayer,” he argued.


Maintaining that the April 2009 order suffered from other shortcomings, Jethmalani said that while constituting Raghvan probe panel, Deputy Inspector General of Police Shivanand Jha had been appointed as one of its members.


Yet the same order sought a probe against his role as well as he figured as one of the accused in the list submitted by Jaffri’s widow, said Jethmalani.





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