The Indian Express | 1 week ago | 24-06-2022 | 11:35 am
The Supreme Court Friday dismissed a plea filed by Zakia Jafri, widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, challenging a clean chit given by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and several others in the 2002 Gujarat riots.A bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar and also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheswhwari and C T Ravikumar, was hearing Jafri’s appeal challenging the October 5, 2017 Gujarat High Court order upholding the Ahmedabad Metropolitan Magistrate Court’s decision to accept the SIT’s closure report, which gave a clean chit to then Gujarat chief minister Modi and 63 others in riots-related cases.Ehsan Jafri, a former MP, was among 68 killed at Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002, a day after a coach of the Sabarmati Express was burnt at Godhra, killing 59 people and triggering riots in the state.On February 8, 2012, the SIT had filed a closure report giving a clean chit to Modi, and 63 others, including senior government officials, saying there was “no prosecutable evidence” against them.In 2018, Zakia Jafri filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the High Court’s October 5, 2017 order rejecting her plea against the decision of the SIT. The plea also maintained that after the SIT gave a clean chit in its closure report before a trial judge, Zakia Jafri filed a protest petition which was dismissed by the magistrate without considering “substantiated merits”.Her plea also said the Gujarat high court “failed to appreciate” the petitioner’s complaint which was independent of the Gunbarrel Society case registered at Meghaninagar Police Station. The high court, in its October 2017 order, had said the SIT probe was monitored by the Supreme Court.It, however, partly allowed Jafri’s petition as far as its demand for a further investigation was concerned. It had then said the petitioner (Zakia) can approach an appropriate forum, including the magistrate’s court, a division bench of the high court, or the Supreme Court seeking further investigation.– With PTI inputs
The metropolitan magistrate’s court on Saturday sent activist Teesta Setalvad and retired DGP R B Sreekumar in judicial custody after investigators did not seek further remand of the two.Setalvad was detained by the Gujarat ATS from her Mumbai residence last month and was brought to the city where she was later arrested by the crime branch, while Sreekumar was detained from his Gandhinagar residence and was arrested. Both were presented before the court which had granted the crime branch a remand till Saturday.As the remand period ended, the two were once again produced before the court of additional chief judicial magistrate. As the investigating team did not seek a further remand, they were sent to judicial custody.During the proceedings, Setalvad moved an application demanding protection within the jail premises where she also sought a separate cell stating that many of the 2002 riot accused, who are convicted due to the work by her NGO, are lodged in the Sabarmati central jail. The plea was opposed by public prosecutors citing that she is no extraordinary prisoner.Coming out of the court premises, Sreekumar showed the victory sign and Setalvad waved at the media persons shouting ‘Satyamev Jayate’.Earlier addressing press persons, officials of the crime branch had said that the two have not been providing any sort of support in the investigation, and the primary evidence against Sreekumar and ex-IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt are the affidavits submitted by them before the SIT commission. The FIR filed by crime branch inspector Darshan Barad had mentioned observations in a judgment given by Supreme Court last month with respect to a plea filed by Zakia Jafri challenging the clean chit given to then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Saturday that the Narendra Modi government is spending six times more money annually on the railway network in Gujarat as compared to the previous UPA government.“The Congress government (UPA) in Delhi used to spend Rs 590 crore every year on the railway network in Gujarat. Prime Minister Narendra Modi increased this spending from Rs 590 crore to Rs 3,960 crore between 2014 and 2022,” said Shah, who was addressing a gathering at Chandlodiya locality of Ahmedabad.Pointing out that projects like Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) and Sabarmati riverfront have been successful only in Ahmedabad, Shah said, “As far as development is concerned, PM Modi has done a lot of work for Ahmedabad. I have never seen a riverfront like this anywhere else in the country. Weddings, morning walks, boating, and picnics can all be done on the riverfront. Similarly, BRTS has not been successful anywhere else apart from Ahmedabad.”“The (Ahmedabad) metro project is also nearing completion. Once it finishes, people in the city will not have to burn petrol. Like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, they can simply hop on the metro and reach their workplace,” he said, speaking about Phase 1 of the project.On Saturday, Shah inaugurated projects worth Rs 33.29 crore carried out jointly by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and Western Railway. This includes improving the existing platform and building a new booking office at Chandlodiya station, a railway under bridge between Chandlodiya and Khodiyar and three waiting rooms and foot-over-bridge at Sabarmati railway station.In his speech, Shah said during the last three years, 10 over bridges or underpasses have been built in Sabarmati Assembly constituency (part of Ahmedabad city) and thus the government has eliminated the need for railway crossings. “From today, 10 trains, including Gorakhpur-Okha Express, Somnath-Jabalpur Express, Bandra-Veraval, Mumbai-Okha Express, Ahmedabad-Somnath Express, Vadodara-Jamnagar train, will have stoppages at Chandlodiya railway station,” Shah said.The Union minister also asked people of his Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency to plant trees. “There is no doubt in my mind that we will become the most developed constituency in the country. I have made a five-year plan. Covid-19 has punctured it a bit, but still development is on track,” he added.
Police recovered bodies of a 26-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl from the Sabarmati riverfront side in Ahmedabad on Thursday evening.According to police, the victims Kiranbhai Parmar, a resident of Geeta Mandir road in Kagdapith and a minor girl, had allegedly taken the extreme step on Thursday noon.“Around 12:30 pm, the two held hands and jumped into the Sabarmati river, near the walk way constructed at Ghat 11 near Sardar bridge at Riverfront west side. The reason behind the victims taking the extreme step remains unknown and we have not found any note from the spot. A case of accidental death has been registered,” said a police official at Sabarmati Riverfront West Police Station.
The Gujarat High Court Thursday refused to grant urgent hearing of a plea by state government before the HC challenging a sessions court order to drop IPC Section 130 charge against 24 accused booked for digging a tunnel in jail to escape.Among those accused of digging a 213-feet long tunnel inside the barracks of Sabarmati Central Jail in February 2013 were 14 accused in Ahmedabad serial bomb blasts case.Among the 14, 11 have been convicted in the blasts case , with nine of them getting the death sentence, while three others have been acquitted of the serial blast charges.A total of 24 undertrial prisoners were chargesheeted by the Ahmedabad crime branch, including under IPC section 130, which can attract a maximum punishment of life imprisonment. Section 130 IPC pertains to the offence of aiding escape of, rescuing or harbouring a state prisoner or prisoner of war from lawful custody.An Ahmedabad sessions court had ordered for deletion of the offence from the chargesheet in April 2016 and had observed that the trial is now “exclusively triable by the Court of First Class Magistrate”, remanding it to the magisterial court for trial.However, the state had challenged the sessions court’s decision before the HC and in June 2016, the Gujarat HC had stayed the order, thus effectively staying the trial in the case.Buy Now | Our best subscription plan now has a special priceSeeking priority for hearing of the matter, the accused’s advocate sought an early date of hearing, while adding that “the state is obliged to make an application for extension of stay, and the stay has expired on June 24…(Because of the stay on the trial) the bail applications are also not being heard on that account.”The court of Justice Nirzar Desai however remarked, “Let it (stay on trial) operate, it won’t be a priority.” while posting the matter next for August 10.
Raiskhan Pathan, who had submitted an affidavit alleging tampering of affidavits filed by victims of post Godhra riots by CJP (Citizen for Justice and Peace), will be called in by the Crime Branch to record his statement. It is worthy to note that a day after the Supreme Court had given a clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the city crime branch had registered an FIR against Teesta Setalvad, ex-DGP R B Sreekumar and dismissed IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt based on the observations made by the apex court.Raiskhan worked as field coordinator with CJP in 2002. Teesta Setalvad, who was the CJP secretary during the same period and essentially ran it, was arrested from her residence in Mumbai while R B Sreekumar was summoned for questioning and then arrested.Investigators said they are probing every aspect of the post Godhra riot and pleas submitted by CJP on behalf of the victims and witnesses. “We are also investigating the funding aspect of the pleas submitted before different courts by CJP which is run by Setalvad. We are looking at the role of others who could be part of the conspiracy to keep the pot boiling. There could be more arrests in future,” the investigator added.A senior police officer privy to the investigation said Sanjiv Bhatt, who is currently lodged in Palanpur Jail, would be brought on transfer warrant after the Rathyatra. “We would also question him about his alleged role in concocting intelligence inputs while he was SP, intelligence, at the time of riots that broke out after burning of Sabarmati Express at Godhra.”Raiskhan’s affidavitKhan had stated in the affidavit that he was getting instructions from Setalvad over phone and e-mails on a day-to-day basis to contact victims and witnesses of riot cases spread in various parts of the state and also those who had shifted to other states.Khan had also mentioned in the affidavit that he was overall in charge of the entire operation of CJP and used to organise press conferences of riot victims on instructions of Setalvad.According to the affidavit, Setalvad used to call riot victims and witnesses to meet her and pay them travelling expenses on behalf of CJP.