Thursday, July 18, 2013

Arguments in the Zakia Jafri Protest Petition(July 18th 2013)

July 18, 2013
Press Release
Arguments in the Zakia Jafri Protest Petition

The illegal instructions given by A-1 chief minister Narendra Modi to the Gujarat police to stop functioning as police, allow a ‘Hindu’ backlash to Godhra and not intervene when an orchestrated backlash by VHP mobs was unleashed, were given at a closed door meeting, late in the evening post 10.30 p.m. on 27.2.2002 and evidence of this is available from various sources: the statement of Haren Pandya before the Concerned Citizens Tribunal (May 2002) as testified before the SIT by two Judges, Justices PB Sawant and Hosbet Suresh), to his father Vithalbhai Pandya who also testified before the SIT; the statement of Sanjiv Bhatt, then DCP-Intelligence to the SIT and RB Sreekumar, then ADGP (SRP).
This evidence is valid and needs to be tried in Court as it amounts to a head of state cohesively orchestrating a conspiracy to paralyse the police and administration from performing their Constitutional duties. Amicus Curaie Raju ramachandran in both his Interim report (January 20, 2011) and Final report (July 25, 2011) also clearly stated that Modi should be tried before a court of law. 

Advocate Mihir Desai counsel, arguing in support of the Zakia Jafri Protest Petition. Assisted by Citizens for Justice & Peace, before the 11th Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court. Ahmedabad, further elaborated that two of the six persons present at the meeting (Svarnakantha Verma, former ACS) deputing for chief secretary Subha Rao, and Anil Mukhim, OSD to the chief minister had clearly stated that cabinet ministers were also present. Only those senior administrators and bureaucrats who are co-accused in the criminal complaint of Zakia Jafri (then DGP Chakravarthi – A 25, then CP Ahmedabad PC Pande A-29, then Home Secretary K Nityanandam A-34, then ACS Home Ashok Narayan, A -28, then Additional Principal Secretary to the chief minister PK Mishra had stated that no politicians were present.  

A retired Supreme Court (PB Sawant) and High Court judge (Hosbet Suresh) gave statements about Haren Pandya’s statement, his father records his statement before the SIT,two persons present at the meeting say that cabinet ministers were present, and SIT says that the case is not fit to go to trial ? This was a deeply prejudiced investigation, insisted Desai. Both Justices Sawant and Suresh have also stated that other officers like Vinod Mall, Himanshu Bhatt and Samiullah Ansari from Gujarat also deposed before them and mentioned illegal instructions from the top. The SIT deliberately failed to record statements of two of the three; and while they recorded Mall’s statement they conspicuously did not ask him about this critical information. What kind of investigation has been carried out, he asked. 

SIT’s rank unprofessionalism was clear in that highly confidential information about Sanjiv Bhatt’s presence (that became known only after he deposed before SIT in November 2009) and was not known to anyone, was leaked to powerful accused in order to allow them to create a false and weak defence. In March 2010 when A-1 Narendra Modi’s statement was recorded by the SIT, he gave himself away, by answering to the question put by SIT, “Who was present?” Modi answered, naming all officials adding,“Sanjiv Bhatt was not present.” How did he know about Bhatt’s presence except for the obvious leak from the SIT? A-1 Modi should not have been privy to this confidential information but in his over zealous bid to conceal his guilt he stated what revealed this lapse, Desai argued. 

While statements of both Bhatt’s driver and another driver of the police clearly state that an Official log Book recording Bhatt’s movements on that day (27.2.2002) were available and submitted as per course to the IB, SIT’s investigation papers makes available only a letter that states that no such record is available! Such a Log Book would have been incontrovertible evidence but it has been destroyed ! What happened to the Log? How did it disappear? SIT has again failed miserably to investigate these disappearances, destructions and lapses, insisted Desai. 

Legally the chief minister’s secretariat is bound under Standard Operating Procedure to maintain minutes of meetings: that a meeting was held on 27.2.2002 is not being disputed, the fact minutes are missing puts onus under section 106 of the Evidence Act on the accsued; yet SIT states that it is not a fit case to go to trial ! Besides, as Desai argued that evidence of a person who is dead, evidence that would have gone against the pecuniary interest of the witness if alive, or make him liable for criminal prosecution (as Haren Pandya’s testimony undoubtedly would have  done) is valid evidence under Section 32(3) of the Indian Evidence Act.

Teesta Setalvad, Secretary
Other Trustees:   I.M. Kadri,              Taizoon Khorakiwala         Nandan Maluste       Cyrus Guzder        Javed Akhtar                        Alyque Padamsee
Anil Dharker          Ghulam Peshimam           Rahul Bose                                            
Javed Anand         Cedric Prakash

Teesta Setalvad
'Nirant', Juhu Tara Road,
Juhu, Mumbai - 400 049

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