Probe didn’t report Army officer’s assertion: Zakia counsel to SC

Zakia Jafri, spouse of Congress MP Ahsan Jafri who was killed within the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat, on Tuesday instructed Supreme Court that investigators didn’t report the assertion of Lieutenant General Zameer Uddin Shah, who led the Army contingent that restored peace within the state, to determine whether or not the forces got fast entry or not.

Appearing for Jafri, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal instructed a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar, “His statement was not recorded. Were they given quick access or not? If they were not given quick access, then why not?”

The bench, additionally comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and C T Ravikumar, is listening to Jafri’s enchantment in opposition to Gujarat High Court’s order upholding the choice of the Ahmedabad Metropolitan Magistrate courtroom to just accept the closure report filed by the SC-appointed Special Investigation Team, which gave a clear chit to the then chief minister Narendra Modi and others within the riot-related circumstances.

Referring to a memoir by Lt Gen Shah, Sibal stated the e-book stated “they (Army) remained stranded at the airfield” resulting from lack of transport. “I am not using this as substantive evidence… Had they taken his statement, all these would have come on record,” he stated.

The bench sought to know when the e-book was printed. After Sibal stated 2018, the courtroom responded: “So this was not before Special Investigation Team”.

Sibal stated the previous Army officer had stated that “the initial reaction of civil administration was tardy” and that he “could not even contact the public servants”.

“This was a part of the official record, they could have investigated it. All of this was documented, why was it not investigated?… When they landed? Whom they called? What was the response? Why were they given delayed access?…,” Sibal stated.

He stated the petitioner tried to get details about operation Aman underneath RTI however to no avail.

Lt Gen Shah obtained a medal for restoring peace in Gujarat however he didn’t have sort phrases to say, he added.

Stating that a number of hate speech was circulated by means of the media, Sibal submitted that the Editors Guild had in a report concurred with the NHRC conclusion that the duty of media needed to be investigated.

He stated there have been stories about “indiscriminate firing from Fatepur mosque” and added this “was complete fabrication”. “If you fabricate stories and put them on front page of newspaper what would happen? What had happened would happen,” he stated, including that leaflets had been distributed with none title, clearly that was part of the conspiracy but it surely was not investigated.

Sibal submitted that the then ADGP R B Sreekumar had stated that intelligence was out there however there was no response from Commissioner of Police, Ahmedabad. Sreekumar had stated that he had particularly identified that members of VHP and Bajrang Dal had been considering motion and “media played a decisive role in keeping the momentum alive”, stated Sibal.

He additionally took the courtroom by means of the assertion of the then Bhavnagar SP Rahul Sharma. The senior counsel stated Sharma has acknowledged that cellphones had been utilized in an enormous method within the riots. “Here is a police officer saying mobile phones were used. Then why did you not seize the mobile phones. The call records were never investigated,” stated Sibal.

Sharma, he added, narrated how political leaders approached him for bail of accused and stated “this shows political interference”.

Stressing the aspect of conspiracy within the riots, Sibal stated conspiracy can solely be established if investigation is carried out. “Question is who all were involved. That would only depend on investigation. That is why we are asking your lordships that there should be some investigation,” he stated.

Sibal submitted that “the Republic is like a ship. That ship has to be made steady. It is your task to keep the Republic steady. It would be steady only if the majesty of law prevails. This is a case where majesty of law has been deeply injured”.

The arguments remained inconclusive and can proceed on Wednesday.

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