Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi seems to have been dragged into a battle he will have to fight. The Special Investigation Team (SIT) which has been probing into the communal riots that left Gujarat a bloodshed in 2002, has summoned Modi for enquiry. This is perhaps the first of a kind incident relating to a state Chief Minister in India.
Narendra Modi will have to appear before the SIT on March 21 in a case relating to the killing of Ehsan Jaffrey, a former Congress Member of Parliament. Part of the Gulbarg Society case, the investigation revolves round the death of Jaffrey on February 28, 2002. RK Raghavan, the chief of the SIT, has confirmed the news that summons have been issued to Modi to appear before the SIT on March 21. Raghavan pointed out that the summons comes only in connection with Jaffrey’s murder, who was reportedly burnt alive.
The investigations into the case have been going on after the Supreme Court had directed enquiry into the 2002 Gujarat communal violence. Zakia Jaffrey, the widow of Ehsan Jaffrey, had filed a 100-page complaint against Modi and 62 others, including his Cabinet colleagues, alleging conspiracy. Modi was dragged into the picture even more seriously after the apex court then ordered for it on April 27, 2009, following up on Zakia’s petition and activist Teesta Setalvad’s plea in this regard pointing out a wider conspiracy in connection with the 2002 communal disturbances.
Now that Modi finds himself in the dock following his summons by the SIT for enquiry. Zakia, in the meantime, is a picture of excitement and has welcomed the summons to Modi. Pointing out that she would now like to see the case to be over now, Zakia hopes for deliverance of justice. Taking the scene a bit forward, her son Tanveer has demanded that an FIR should be filed against Modi now.
With the stage now set for Narendra Modi to detail his stance, the case that has been followed by many in the country now looks to March 21 when the probe is taken forward with Modi in the box. The SIT, which has already questioned a slew of witnesses and collected evidence, will now be keen to listen to the Modi version of the whole story. Once this too comes to an end, it would be the final lap in the whole probe process. SIT would then submit its report to the Supreme Court, by April 30.
The Congress used the summons to take potshots at the BJP, saying that ideally the party should now get rid of Modi as Chief Minister of Gujarat. The BJP responded that the summons was just normal legal procedure.
According to the accusations against Modi, Ehsaan Jaffrey seemed to have tried calling him up several times to ask for help but there was no response at all.
Whether there can be any progress in indicting Modi in the case is unclear, as proof that he was directly or indirectly responsible for Mr Jaffrey’s death or the Gujarat riots is going to be difficult to come by indeed.
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