New Delhi: The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team, headed by former CBI director R K Raghavan, to probe the 2002 Gujarat riots has concluded in its 541-page closure report that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi took all possible steps to control the 2002 post-Godhra riots and questioned the motive behind filing a complaint against him by a riot victim four years after the communal violence.
On Narendra Modi's role
"Law and order review meetings were held by Modi and all the things was done to control the situation... the Army was called on time to contain the communal violence."
"Modi was busy with steps to control the situation, establishment of relief camps for riot victims and also with efforts to restore peace and normalcy."
"In view of the detailed inquiry and satisfactory explanation of the person involved, no criminal case is made out against Narendra Modi."
On Ehsan Jafri's murder
The SIT has said no charges levelled by the widow of former Congress MP Eshan Jaffery (killed in riots) are maintainable and also questioned the intention behind filing such a complaint four years after the incident.
"In his interview the CM has clearly referred to Jafris firing as 'action' and the massacre as 'reaction'. It may be clarified here that in case late Ehsaan Jafri fired at the mob, this could be an immediate provocation to the mob, which had assembled there to take revenge of Godhra incidents from Muslims," the report says.
The report goes on to question Zakia for delay in filing complaint against Modi and others, alleging their complicity in the riots which left over 1,000 people dead. Zakia was examined by the police for the first time in connection with the Gulburg Society cases on March 6, 2002 but she did not come up with allegations against Modi and others.
On Zakia Jafri
"She appeared before the Nanavati Commission, probing the riots, on August 29, 2003 but did not disclose the facts given in this said complaint. In September 2003, she filed an affidavit in the apex court but did not level allegations against Modi and others."
"It was for the first time in June 6, 2006, after a lapse of four years, that she came up with the said complaint. The allegations in the complaint are vague, general and stereotyped."
"The amicus curiae has agreed with the findings of the SIT on all major issues. Whereas the complainant (Zakia) has made an allegation the chief minister sponsored the riots, the amicus curiae has come to the conclusion that sufficient steps were taken by the chief minister to control the riots."
On Modi invoking Newton's law of 'action and reaction'
"In his interview the CM has clearly referred to Jafri's firing (on the mob gathered at his house) as 'action' and the massacre as 'reaction'. It may be clarified here that in case late Ehsaan Jafri, fired at the mob, this could be an immediate provocation to the mob, which had assembled there to take revenge of Godhra incidents from Muslims."
The SIT has said that even if Mr Modi had told the police during the riots to allow the Hindus to vent their anger over the massacre of 56 kar sevaks in the Godhra train burning incident, the mere statement of those in the confines of a room does not constitute an offence. On this, the SIT seems to have based its report on public statements made by Mr Modi during the riots.
"Interpretations made on alleged illegal instructions given by the Chief Minister by RB Shreekumar and Sanjiv Bhatt, appear to be without any basis. Further, even if such allegations are believed for the sake of argument, mere statement of alleged words in the four walls of a room does not constitute any offence," says the report by the SIT, headed by RK Raghavan.
On Raju Ramachandran report
The SIT finding is contradictory to the report of amicus curie Raju Ramchandran, who had opined that Modi can be prosecuted for "promoting enmity among different groups". Ramchandran, a Supreme Court lawyer, has based his report on testimony of suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who in an affidavit filed in the apex court, had alleged Modi gave instructions to top police officers to go slow on rioters.
Regarding Ramchandran's report, the SIT has said the amicus curie had "erred" by relying solely on the statements given by Bhatt and concluding that certain offences can be made out against Modi.
The view of the amicus curiae that it does not appear very likely that a serving police officer would make such a serious allegation without some basis seems to be erroneous as Bhatt had been all along a delinquent in his career and trying to bargain with the government, the report said.
The SIT has demolished all allegations raised in Ramchandran's report submitted to the court here. "The amicus curiae did not allege any conspiracy or abetment on the part of chief minister," the SIT report noted.
On rioters given a free hand
On the allegations that Modi, in a meeting of February 27, 2002, had told top police officers to allow Hindus to vent their anger in wake of Godhra train burning incident, the SIT has said there is no basis for levelling such charges. But even if such allegations are believed for sake of argument it does not constitute any offence, the SC-appointed probe agency maintained.
"... The interpretations made on alleged illegal instructions given by the chief minister by police officers R B Sreekumar and Sanjiv Bhatt appear to be without any basis. Further, even if such allegations are believed for sake of argument, mere statement of alleged words in the four walls of a room does not constitute any offence."
On Sanjiv Bhatt
The SIT report says all seven top officers of the state administration had denied Bhatt's presence at the February 27 meeting. These police officers and bureaucrats of the Home Department had denied that Modi had made any such statements (about giving free hand to rioters), it said.
"The claim of Shri Bhatt has been dismissed by K D Chakravarthi, the then DGP, who has denied that Bhatt accompanied him in his staff car to the Chief Minister's residence. Significantly, the log book of the vehicle of Shri Chakravarthi has no mention of Sanjiv Bhatt."
On relief measures taken by Gujarat govt
"The chief minister said that relief and rehabilitation measures were initiated immediately and compensation packages were announced and implemented."
"Modi said that perhaps for the first time in the country, a committee was constituted under the chairmanship of the governor to review rehabilitation efforts. This high-level committee included leader of the opposition, members from the chamber of commerce, members from prominent NGOs etc."