Zakia Jafri to court: Enough evidence to try Narendra Modi

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AHMEDABAD: Zakia Jafri’s counsel on Thursday claimed that there is ample evidence to try chief minister NarendraModi over the allegation that he had issued illegal instructions on February 27 at a meeting with top officials, to go slow on Hindu rioters during the post-Godhra riots.

Opposing the clean chit given by the Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team to Modi and others, Zakia’s counsel, Mihir Desai, submitted before metropolitan magistrate B J Ganatra that three statements – those by former minister Haren Pandya, IGP Sanjiv Bhatt and retired DGP R B Sreekumar – are admissible as evidence. He stated that the SIT had deliberately ignored them even though it is for the courts, and not an investigating agency, to decide their value as evidence.

The lawyer submitted that only the statement of Pandya, though he is no more now, is enough to make this case fit for trial. He claimed that Pandya was present at the meeting and had deposed about this before a citizen’s tribunal. This had been testified by two retired judges – Hosbet Suresh and P B Sawant, Zaki’a lawyer said. Pandya’s statement is admissible as evidence under section 34(3) of the Evidence Act, he said. The lawyer also blamed the SIT for misinterpreting Pandya’s call details to show his location.

The lawyer submitted that the SIT had disregarded Swarnakanta Verma and Anil Mukim’s statements that reflected the presence of Modi’s cabinet colleagues during the meeting.

The senior counsel blamed the SIT for undermining Bhatt’s claims as made in his statements given in 2009, and accused the agency of leaking Bhatt’s statement to Modi. He cited the statements of Bhatt and Modi and asked how Modi had said that Bhatt was not present at the meeting even when he was not asked about it on March 25, 2010. The lawyer submitted that there is no evidence to prove that Bhatt was not present in the meeting. There are no minutes of the meeting, the vehicle’s log book has now gone missing according to report of senior cop A K Sharma, and there are no call details that could establish firmly that Bhatt was not part of the meeting.

Advocate Desai quoted amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran’s opinion that Bhatt’s statement can be subjected to scrutiny only by a court. The lawyer submitted that only a court can decide on the issue and as witnesses are available, this becomes a fit case for trial.

Zakia’s lawyer also claimed that three police officers – Vinod Mal, Samiullah Ansari and Himanshu Bhatt – were also not examined for their deposition before the tribunal where they had claimed that they were instructed not to act against the rioters.

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