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SC rejects plea to probe Modi's role in murder

SC rejects plea to probe Modi's role in murder

Ex-home minister Haren Pandya was killed in 2003.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea seeking a probe against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for the March 2003 killing of former state home minister Haren Pandya.

A bench of Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan dismissed the plea of Vitthalbhai Pandya, father of late Haren Pandya and said: "There should be some basis in the allegation.

"We are very sorry that a father has to come here," the bench, which also included Justice P Sathasivam and Justice B S Chauhan, remarked expressing its sympathy for Pandya's father.

It, however, dismissed his plea for want of any evidence to substantiate his suspicion against Modi.

Vitthalbhai Pandya approached the apex court challenging a Gujarat High Court ruling, which had dismissed his plea last year for examination of Modi's role.

Haren Pandya was shot dead on March 26, 2003 near the Law Garden in the heart of Ahmedabad.

Earlier, Vitthalbhai Pandya himself pleaded to the court to order Modi's interrogation. Later his lawyer Maganbhai Barot made further submissions in the case.

They contended that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was not examining some of the main witnesses in the case including the wife of the slain leader.

They contended that Haren Pandya had appeared before a Private Citizens' Inquiry Panel headed by Justice (retired) V R Krishna Iyer on the statewide communal violence following the train burning tragedy at Godhra February 27, 2002.

They said Haren Pandya had reportedly told the panel that communal violence, which claimed 1,169 lives, was orchestrated by Modi and his officials.

Vitthalbhai Pandya and Barot said Modi's Principal Secretary P K Mishra had asked senior police officer R.B. Srikumar to ascertain if the former minister had deposed before the panel.

They said Srikumar, in turn, had confirmed Modi's suspicion.

They said the government had also secured the call details of a mobile phone used by Haren Pandya days before he was killed.

first published:July 15, 2009, 19:24 IST