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SC allows plea against Modi clean chit

- Zakia Jafri granted access to full closure report of riot case against CM

New Delhi, Feb. 7: The Supreme Court today permitted 2002 riot victim Zakia Jafri to file a fresh “protest petition” against the special investigation team’s closure report that cleared Narendra Modi of alleged involvement in the murder of her husband for lack of evidence.

A three-judge bench set aside two orders an Ahmedabad trial court had passed last year, rejecting her plea for certain documents relating to the closure report and a protest petition against the SIT’s decision to close the case against the Gujarat chief minister.

Justices P. Sathasivam, Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai said Zakia would be entitled to the “entire report” seeking closure of the complaint against Modi and also the comments on the May 5, 2012, document by the probe team’s chairman, former CBI director R.K. Raghavan.

“The petitioner is granted eight weeks’ time to file a protest petition,” Justice Sathasivam said.

The order came on a special leave petition Zakia had filed against the November 27 order of the trial court that dismissed her plea challenging the SIT’s closure report.

Zakia’s husband, former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, died in the Gulbarg Housing Society massacre in the riots that followed the Godhra train fire.

The SIT — formed by the apex court to investigate Zakia’s complaint that Modi and many others, including ministers and police officers, were involved in the larger conspiracy behind the riots — had probed the allegation. But it had concluded that there was no basis to proceed against the chief minister.

More than a thousand people died in the pogrom, the worst in the country’s recent history.

Zakia had approached the trial court after the SIT filed its closure report.

On July 16, 2012, the trial court rejected her plea for certain documents related to the closure report.

Zakia then filed a protest petition against the SIT’s decision to close the case. On November 27, the trial court accepted the closure report and rejected her plea again.

The trial court said Zakia had lost the right to file the protest petition against the SIT report because of lapse of time. It said despite being given sufficient time, she had not filed the protest petition.

Zakia then moved the Supreme Court. In her petition, filed through counsel Kamini Jaiswal and Aparna Bhat, she contended that the trial court’s refusal to allow her access to the SIT documents was coming in the way of her filing the protest petition against the closure report.

Jaiswal said the trial court’s November 27 decision to close the case and not allow her access to the documents she sought had jeopardised her right to file the protest petition.

Today’s order means Zakia can file a fresh protest petition in the trial court.