The Gujarat Government on Friday said the Supreme Court does not have the power to stay the ongoing trial in the post-Godhra communal riots and that the SIT cannot summon Chief Minister Narendra Modi and other accused in the murder of ex-Congress MP Ehasan Jafri.
In a fresh affidavit filed in the apex court, the State sought registration of criminal cases against NGO activist Teesta Setalvad and others for allegedly tutoring witnesses, intimidating the SIT and indulging in activities with ulterior political and vested interests.
Questioning the role played by various NGOs, Gujarat urged the apex court to issue notices to all States to examine the "extent of interference by such third parties".
The State Government's affidavit comes in response to the apex court's April 6 decision to consider the application made by Teesta and certain others seeking stay on the trial and transferring the case to the CBI. The applicants had alleged that the SIT was functioning in a biased manner.
Modi was earlier grilled by the apex court appointed Special Investigation Team on his alleged role in the 2002 killing of Jafri who was burnt alive by a mob at Gulbarg Society, even though he made frantic calls for help to police and the Chief Minister.
"I state and submit that though this Hon'ble court merely required SIT, in order dated 27th April 2009 'to look into the complaint', the SIT started calling persons named therein and started recording their statements which is neither permissible in law nor contemplated in the aforesaid order," the affidavit said.
On April 27, 2009, the apex court had asked the SIT to "look into the complaint" of the slain former rpt (former) MP's wife Zakia about the alleged role of Modi and others in the killing.
The apex court at the last hearing while mulling the idea of staying the trial had also asked the State to drop IPS officers--Geeta Johri and Shivanand Jha from the SIT. The case would come up for hearing on Monday.
Stoutly opposing stay of the trial, Gujarat said, "once the investigating agency has filed a charge sheet after conducting an investigation under supervision and monitoring of this hon'ble court, in the respectful submission of the State Government, the jurisdiction of this court,under Article 32 of the Constitution of India would come to an end," and cited a number of earlier rulings.
The State took the plea that under Section 173(8) of the CrPC once the chargesheet is filed as in the present case, an aggrieved party can approach only the trial court to challenge the alleged shortcomings or the inadequacy of the investigation. PTI