New Delhi. There is not even a tittle of material to prove that the 2002 Gujarat Riots were pre-planned. The Supreme Court stated on Friday while dismissing a plea challenging the clean-chit given by the Special Investigation Team to the then Chief Minister of Gujarat in connection with the riots.
A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar noted that as per the material on record, it was unfathomable that any larger conspiracy had been hatched at the higher level as was alleged.
“Suffice it to observe that there is no tittle of material, much less tangible material to support the plea of the appellant that the Godhra incident unfolded on February 27, 2002 and the events which followed, was a pre-planned event owing to the criminal conspiracy hatched at the highest level in the State,” the Court said.
The Court said that basis of the allegation regarding conspiracy was the claim by certain officials that they were present at a meeting headed by Modi where he allegedly said that Hindus must be allowed to vent their anger post the Godhra violence.
“We find force in the argument of the respondent-State that the testimony of Mr. Sanjiv Bhatt, Mr. Haren Pandya and also of Mr. RB Sreekumar was only to sensationalize and politicize the matters in issue, although, replete with falsehood. For, persons not privy to the stated meeting, where utterances were allegedly made by the then Chief Minister, falsely claimed themselves to be eye-witnesses and after thorough investigation by the SIT, it has become clear that their claim of being present in the meeting was itself false to their knowledge. On such false claim, the structure of larger criminal conspiracy at the highest level has been erected. The same stands collapsed like a house of cards, aftermath thorough investigation by the SIT.”
“At the end of the day, it appears to us that a coalesced effort of the disgruntled officials of the State of Gujarat 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 after a thorough investigation,” the judgment said.
“Intriguingly, the present proceedings have been 305 pursued for last 16 years including with the audacity to question the integrity of every functionary involved in the process of exposing the devious stratagem adopted (to borrow the submission of learned counsel for the SIT), to keep the pot boiling, obviously, for ulterior design. As a matter of fact, all those involved in such abuse of process, need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law,” the Court stated.
Input Courtesy – BarandBench