In the midst of the ongoing non-stop political potboiler going on in Maharashtra, came good news for Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, when a division bench of Supreme Court upheld the findings of the Special Investigation Team, which had given a clean chit to Modi in the 2002 Gujarat riots case.
Justice A M Khanwilkar, Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice CT Ravikumar rejected the petition of Zakia Jafri, widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who was killed by rioters, and activist Teesta Setalvad, seeking a probe into the “larger conspiracy” behind the Gujarat riots. The bench, after going through all allegations against the then CM Narendra Modi and other officials, and perusing the findings of the SIT headed by RK Raghavan, ex-CBI chief, came to the conclusion that there was no evidence to prove that the Gujarat riots of 2002 were the result of a criminal conspiracy hatched at the highest level, when Modi was chief minister.
The bench said: “To sum up, we are of the considered opinion that no fault can be found with the approach of the SIT in submitting final report dated 8.2.2012, which is backed by firm logic, expositing analytical mind and dealing with all aspects objectively for discarding the allegations regarding larger criminal conspiracy (at the highest level) for causing and precipitating mass violence across the state against the minority community during the relevant period.”
The Supreme Court took to task two former IPS officers R B Sreekumar and Sanjiv Bhatt for giving false testimonies to sensationalize the issue by incriminating Modi and others. The apex court suggested that those behind the ulterior deign for keeping the issue boiling for the last 16 years must be brought to book. The court termed them as ‘disgruntled’.
While rejecting Zakia Jafri’s plea for a larger probe, the apex court said that the SIT had conducted a thorough probe under the supervision of Supreme Court and questioning the findings of the report would amount to travesty of justice and doubting the wisdom of this court which had supervised/monitored the probe.
Hailing the SC verdict which has drawn a curtain over all allegations against Modi, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said: “Today I want to ask Congress, Left and others, your entire shop was running on the campaign against Narendra Modi for the last 20 years, how many more days will you run this shop now?”
Home Minister Amit Shah, in an interview to a news agency on Saturday, said, “the truth has come out shining like gold. Modi ji had silently endured pain for the last 19 years, like Lord Shiva who swallowed poison and held it in his throat....It was a battle for 19 years, and a great leader like Narendra Modi endured the pain like Lord Shiva.”
Amit Shah said, “I have closely seen Modiji enduring the pain, facing allegations despite being on the side of truth, and since the matter was in court, he never spoke on this issue. Only a man with a strong heart can do this....He endured it all silently.”
The most notable part of Friday’s Supreme Court verdict was that the bench said, co-petitioner Teesta Setalvad used the emotions of Zakia Jafri for her benefit. To play with the emotions and pain over the death of a lady’s husband is nothing short of crime. The Supreme Court clearly went through all the findings and evidences and found that Teesta Setalbad exploited Zakia Jafri’s pain to tarnish Narendra Modi’s image.
That is why the apex court has said, “At the end of the day, it appears to us that a coalesced effort of the disgruntled officials of the state, along with others, was to create sensation by making revelations which were false to their own knowledge. The falsity of their claims had been fully exposed by the SIT...All those involved in such abuse of process, need to be in the dock and proceeded with, in accordance with the law.”
In my opinion, enough is enough. The entire chapter relating to Narendra Modi and Gujarat riots must now be closed, and the file about the role of activists like Teesta Setalvad should be opened. If we truly respect the feelings of the Supreme Court, the game to defame Narendra Modi for Gujarat riots must now be brought to an end. Probe should begin against those who used the riots and the riot victims for their political vested interests. The people of India have the right to know who were the real ‘Maut Ke Saudagar’ (merchants of death).
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