Gujarat Riots- "Protest Complaint Has Gone Outside The Hands Of Complainant, It Shows A Sinister Side to Keep This As A Pot Boiling": SIT Tells Supreme Court

Sohini Chowdhury

1 Dec 2021 4:16 PM GMT

  • Gujarat Riots- Protest Complaint Has Gone Outside The Hands Of Complainant, It Shows A Sinister Side to Keep This As A Pot Boiling: SIT Tells Supreme Court

    The Supreme Court on Wednesday continued hearing the arguments of Senior Advocate, Mr. Mukul Rohatgi, appearing on behalf of the SIT in the petition by Zakia Jafri challenging the SIT closure report giving clean chit to the highest functionaries of the State of Gujarat, including the then Chief Minister, who were alleged to have played a pivotal role in the Gujarat riots of...

    The Supreme Court on Wednesday continued hearing the arguments of Senior Advocate, Mr. Mukul Rohatgi, appearing on behalf of the SIT in the petition by Zakia Jafri challenging the SIT closure report giving clean chit to the highest functionaries of the State of Gujarat, including the then Chief Minister, who were alleged to have played a pivotal role in the Gujarat riots of 2002.

    A Bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar took up the part-heard matter for further hearing. The crux of the argument of Senior Advocate, Mr. Kapil Sibal, that the SIT had displayed a flagrant lack of commitment in investigating the crucial aspects that had the potential of establishing a larger conspiracy, was emphatically countered by Mr. Rohatgi. As per his submissions, the SIT had looked into all the allegations made by the Petitioner, more than often exceeding the remit of the Supreme Court imposed on it by its order dated 12.09.2011 out of an abundance of caution.

    In 2008, the Supreme had appointed the SIT to hand over charge of the investigation of the nine major incidents of riots in Gujarat. In 2006, the Petitioner, who had lost his husband in the riots, had filed a complaint against the highest functionaries of the State alleging conspiracy. The complaint was not taken up and the Petitioner approached the High Court and subsequently the Supreme Court. In 2011 the Apex Court directed the already appointed SIT to look into the plea of the Petitioner.

    Before making submissions, Mr. Rohatgi reminded the Court that on the last occasion it had asked him to file the testimonies of Zakia, Rahul Sharma and Ashish Khetan before the Trial Court. Accordingly, he assured he would place it before the Bench, during the course of the day.

    At the outset Mr. Rohatgi brought it to the Court's attention that he had compiled the relevant portions of the Trial Court judgment in the Gulberg matter and would like to eventually read out the same to demonstrate the overlapping allegations made before the trial court and the ones made in the present proceedings. He stated -

    "I have got testimony of complaint, testimony of Rahul Sharma and testimony of Mr. Khetan. I have compiled the Trial Court judgment in the Gulberg incident. Some of the paragraphs are important to show the overlap in this case. The matter was decided and the appeal is pending."

    Mr. Rohatgi further pointed out that the allegation of conspiracy was also before the Trial Court. After hearing arguments of both sides, the Trial Court had rejected it. He submitted -

    "There is no material to show a larger conspiracy. That was argued and that was decided...this knocks out the whole case of Petitioner, whose case was on larger conspiracy, which now they are not arguing."

    Recapitulating his submissions so far, he highlighted that the Petitioner is relying on the affidavits, testimonies of three star witnesses namely, Shreekumar, Rahul Sharma and Sanjiv Bhatt. As per Mr. Rohatgi, the complaint is replete with the statements made by these witnesses in affidavits before the Nanavati Commission.

    Referring to the order of the Supreme Court dated 12.09.2011 as the 'pole star', Mr. Rohatgi reiterated that the remit imposed on SIT was to 'look into' the complaint of Zakai in order to find additional material in the Gulberg matter. He averred -

    "We should remember like a pole star, that in order dated 12.09.2011 this Court while referring the matter said SIT please look into the complaint. Because the complainant belongs to Gulberg,...this court said please look into the complaint because there can be additional material relating to the Gulberg incident...SIT had looked into every paragraph of the complaint. It examined all the accused, these star witnesses…"

    To contextualise his arguments, Mr. Rohatgi summarised the incidents depicting how the fateful day unfolded. He submitted -

    The train reached Godhra at about 7 o'clock in the morning. It was to reach at night, but wa late by 5 hours. There was an attack by miscreants...Two bogies completely burned...The administration took stock of the situation, higher ups went there, they decided to do a post mortem right there. Now, even that move is being doubted in the Protest petition. The bodies were moved in trucks to Amhedabad. They were handed over by afternoon...There is a meeting on 27.02.2002 by political leaders, later in the a reaction some kind of riot commenced. Meeting of the highest authority in the afternoon of 28.02.2002...Army is called on the same day...Army was airlifted and brought to the State commencing from midnight 28.02.2002.

    The Bench pointed out that Mr. Rohatgi had missed out the event of buildup before the Godhra massacre took place on 27.02.2002, that was specifically emphasised upon by Mr. Sibal.

    It stated -

    "You missed one event..Building up of the incident before Godhra.

    Mr. Rohatgi's response to the allegation of buildup of arms was that, it made a preposterous suggestion that the VHP members were already aware that the untoward incident was to take place on 27.02.2002 when the train reached the Godhra station. He highlighted that the Protest Petition has a chapter on mystery fire on train and another on provocative behaviour, which according to him indicated that the fire was set from within.

    "There is an allegation of buildup of arms...I do not understand this argument/fact. If there, that means that VHP fellows knew there would be an untoward incident on 27th morning. It's preposterous...There is chapter in the Protest petition on mystery fire on train and chapter on provocative behaviour of kar sevaks. There is an indication that fire was from within."

    The Bench enquired, "That allegation is based on finding of some Commission?"

    Replying in negative, Mr. Rohatgi apprised the Court that the Petitioner was relying on a self-styled commission, namely the Concerned Citizens' Tribunal, which has no recognition in law. He submitted -

    "No. The Nanavati Commission, Trial Court and SIT discounted this argument. They are relying on a self styled commission called, Concerned Citizens' Tribunal. It has no recognition in law."

    Commenting on the modification made in the Protest petition, Mr. Rohatgi stated -

    "The Protest Petition is of 1200 pg against a complaint of 30-40 pages."

    Referring to the allegation of the fire brigade not responding, he submitted that it was a case of 'civil administration paralysis' at the best and not within the scope of SIT's investigation, which was solely concerned with the people who had initiated the riots, and killed people in the process.

    "It says why did the fire brigade not respond...It is not a part of the SIT. SIT had to see who conducted the riot and killed the people...You say Pandey, the Police Commissioner was lapse about fire brigade. Obviously, Milords, it is an obvious case where there was a civil administration paralysis, the mobs had taken over, police were outnumbered, there were roadblocks, trees were cut. How can a fire brigade travel when you have roadblocks by trees..."

    Mr. Rohatgi sought permission of the Court to read about the buildup again from the order of the High Court in a related matter, which had not found any merit in the allegation. While reading the same, Mr. Rohatgi pointed out that there was a difference between failure of administration and conspiracy.

    "There is a difference between failure of administration and conspiracy... It could be a case of dereliction of duty, it could be a case that you were not smart enough, you were not proactive enough. It could be a case, Milord, where you should have acted more proactively but not a case that there was deliberate meeting of minds in regard to a conspiracy."

    Mr. Rohatgi drew the Court's attention to some of the relevant observations of the Nanavati Committee to demolish the allegation of conspiracy raised by the Petitioner.

    "Kindly see some samples of what the commission (Nanavati) said...This is the second meeting of 28.02.2002...after bodies were brought to Solah Hospital...This is all a prelude to show that the allegation of conspiracy is demolished...This meeting was held, a decision was taken to send a wireless to make everyone alert. By 2pm, the army was called in….Right when riots commenced in several parts these things were happening.

    Diverting from the Commission's observation, Mr. Rohatgi made submissions regarding the finding of the Trial Court in Gulberg with respect to commencement of the riots. As per the findings, the riots in Gulberg started post 1 pm, when the Petitioner's husband, Ehsan Jafri fired 8 rounds from his double barrel licensed gun into the crowd. He asserted-

    "The riots did not commence in the morning, it commenced at noon and after…The Trial court in Gulberg held that there was no riot until 1pm in the afternoon…The State administration was overrun by the mobs...The Bandh was going on in the morning, the riots had not commenced because of the bandh. That is the finding of the trial court in Gulberg...And the judge record that the riots commenced because the mob was incensed by the firing by late Ehsan Jafri...Riots commenced post 1pm, when late Ehsan Jafri fired 8 rounds from his double barrel licensed gun, that was the finding."

    Glancing through some of the observations of the Nanavati Committee, he apprised the Court that they concurred with the findings of the SIT. Mr. Rohatgi submitted -

    "The Commission report is replete with paragraphs that completely support the version of SIT."

    Refuting the Petitioner's allegation regarding the dead bodies being handed over to Jadeep Patel, Mr. Rohatgi argued that the Report of the Nanavati Commission endorsed that the dead bodies were transported from Godhra to Solah Hospital in trucks escorted by police convoy. He further averred that the Commission noted the bodies were not taken to the streets of Ahmedabad and the trucks filled with charred bodies also were not taken through densely populated parts of the city. He submitted -

    "Report says that they were sent in police escort. Kindly note your lordship. The other side said that it was handed over to Jaydeep...[Report says] that the bodies were not taken within the streets of Ahmedabad and did not pass densely populated parts."

    The Bench enquired, "Date of Commission's report?"

    Considering the fact that the report ran into 3000 pages, Mr. Rohatgi apologised that he did not have the information, and would share the same in some time.

    On the issue of parading Mr. Rohatgi concluded -

    "The Commission found no substance regarding the allegation of parading."

    Next, he drew the Court's attention towards the observations made by the Commission with respect to Rahul Sharma, whose evidence the SIT had discounted for submitting the same after inordinate delay and not submitting it in the Malkhana.

    "See about Mr. Sharma. We discounted his evidence. Now I'll show what the Commission says. It will sound like repetition because it is the same as what SIT found."

    Mr. Rohatgi, highlighted the observation of the Commission that Rahul Sharma was not telling the truth with regard to possession of original CDs. The non-availability of the original CDs made the data provided by him, that too after a delayed period unreliable and unacceptable as evidence. He further submitted -

    "Clear finding that Sharma was evasive and unreliable."

    Mr. Rohatgi broke from his arguments to inform the Court the date of the Nanavati report -

    18.11.2014 - Date of Nanavati. Tabled in Assembly in Dec, 2019.

    "Your report precedes the Commission Report?", the Bench asked.

    Mr. Rohatgi replied, "Much before."

    He humbly remarked that the observation of the Citizens' Tribunal was also not accepted by the Nanavati Commission. The Court clarified that the Commission did not comment on the report of the Tribunal but the fact that the material was not before it. It remarked -

    "The Commission had not commented on the report of the Tribunal. It said the material was not present before the Citizens Tribunal...If material was before then perhaps."

    The next issue taken by Mr. Rohatgi was the statement made by Shreekumar. SIT had discredited his evidence as he had raised the allegations of police inaction only after his supersession. He submitted -

    "Now, RB Shreekumar. SIT said this man filed several affidavits. First he did not say anything. In the 3rd report after supersession he said. Now, see what the Commission said."

    Stating that the Commission was more critical of Shreekumar's conduct referring to him as a 'disgruntled officer', Mr. Rohatgi read -

    "Evidence was filed after departmental action. Appears that this is a disgruntled officer. ..appears he made the evidence on a later date..He should have filed in the first affidavit. Credibility is questionable, one allegation found to be false…"

    He submitted -

    "Every part of his(Shreekumar) evidence is junked."

    The Bench enquired, "This quotation is from Commission or HC judgment?"

    Mr. Rohatgi responded, "Commission."

    Reading from the index of his convenience compilation, Mr. Rohatgi referred to a press note wherein the public was made aware that anyone with information of the riots could reach out to the SIT.

    "I have summed up in the note. Kindly see the index. The first is a letter issued by PRO telling the public at large that if anyone wants to depose they can come to SIT."

    Mr. Rohatgi argued that Lt. Gen. Zameeruddin Shah, whose book was referred to by the Petitioner, had the opportunity to put forth his grievances before the SIT.

    The Bench asked, "This is in 2008?"

    Rohatgi responded in the affirmative.

    Putting the argument of the Petitioner in the context, the Bench stated -

    "The argument of the other side is, acceptable or not acceptable will be decided by the Court, but SIT has to place that along with the police report."

    Mr. Rohatgi replied that the material was placed before the Court by SIT. He further emphasised that his role with respect to the Petitioner's complaint was limited. He submitted -

    "I have done my job. This (Zakia's complaint) was an additional job at the fag end. That since you are doing nine cases look at this lady also..that is my entire role. My role, Milord, is not to be a super policeman for everything...Let's not forget my role, Milords."

    Responding to the Court's observation that the finds had to be placed before the court trying the Gulberg matter, Mr. Rohatgi submitted -

    "To answer your lordships, if something is wrong with a court judgement that is redressal by a legal system...It is not redressable by filing a complaint in a parallel fashion.There cannot be 3-4 parallel things going on."

    He pointed out two mandates of the Supreme Court -

    "Mr. SIT investigate 9 major cases, take it to a logical end."

    The Bench clarified that the argument made by Mr. Rohatgi can counter the argument of the petitioner that the SIT was biased. But, the Court's query is a more nuanced one, where the question pertains to the role of the Court with respect to the closure report. The Bench remarked -

    "All that we said is that all these arguments we will take into account to reject the plea of the other side that the SIT was biased...The next stage is when the matter goes to the court what is the role of the court. But we have to deal with what the Court said with respect to the closure report."

    Acknowledging that there was a misunderstanding on his part, he had thought that the Court was referring to the Court where the Gulberg trial had commenced and not the Magistrate who was to take cognisance of the concerned closure report. It was submitted -

    "I misinterpreted. Your lordship is talking about the court where the closure report was filed and not where the trial was going on. Your lordships, the court after application of mind accepted the closure report."

    While making his arguments, Mr. Rohatgi had stated a couple of times that the Supreme Court had appreciated its work. In this context the Bench enquired, "You said SC and HC commended the work of SIT. Can you give the date of the orders?"

    "01.05.2009 reported as (2009) 6 SCC 767.", Mr. Rohatgi answered.

    The Bench further asked, "Any other order? HC order"

    Mr. Rohatgi replied, "No other order. I'll check."

    Mr. Rohatgi asserted the job done by the SIT after investigation -

    "The SIT did two things after investigation. It culled out in a para the allegations of the complainant...Examined role of 63 accused…"

    Mr. Rohatgi suspected, looking at the protest petition and the material therein that the Petition was being driven by someone other than the Petitioner who is a semi-literate person -

    "If I may say so Milords with respect, that the complaint has gone outside the hands of the complainant. That's obvious, I will show the nature of the protest. It can never be by the complainant who is semi-literate."

    Mr. Rohatgi countered the allegation that The SIT had not considered NHRC -

    "Closure report discusses. Evidence before NHRC can be used in criminal proceedings."

    Seeking clarification the Bench asked, "NHRC has not recorded findings that it was state sponsored."

    Agreeing to the same, Mr. Rohatgi posed a question to himself that under which law can the protest petition be treated as a complaint. Contending that the complainant got ample opportunity to file a fresh complaint, Mr. Rohatgi thought that the same reflected sinister intention of keeping the matter afloat. He argued -

    "The protest petition is now 1200 pages. He says now treat this as a complaint. When Guj HC said go and file FIR, she could have gone. Now after 20 years milords treat this as a complaint, why? You want to keep this milord as a boiling pot or what. This also shows a sinister side to keep this as a pot boiling...This was my comment on treating the protest as the complaint. Starting from the guiding polestar, i.e. order 12.09.2011, where have we been taken now."

    The Court pointed out that apart from the order dated 01.05.2009, the Court had also commended the SIT in its 12.09.2011 order by placing trust on it to look into Zakia's complaint.

    "01.05.2009 is when you were commended. On 12.09.2011 this Court commended you by placing trust to conduct investigation."

    Mr. Rohatgi stated, "I did not think it that way.Thank you, lordship...Placing trust, the additional burden of tears of a widow was put on SIT, that you can do a better job in Gulberg."

    The Bench enquired, "Any empirical data on how many hours/days have been spent by SIT to investigate."

    Assuring the court to check the same, Mr. Rohatgi continued -

    "Protest was heard 15.04.2013 to 26.12.2013 in a day to day basis. Reserved in Oct, 2013, judgment on 26.12.2013. Day to day trial, everyone was heard. The judgment can by no stretch of imagination be said to be non application or perverse. HC spent months and delivered their judgment."

    Mr. Rohatgi read allegations from the Protest Petition which he stated were borrowed from testimonies in the other cases of riots. He believed -

    "The intention is to keep on making frivolous allegations."

    The Bench clarified, "You mean, that the fresh allegations were made which were not in the complaint."

    Mr. Rohatgi responded, "The expansion was made (by other other side) at all stages."

    Addressing the allegation of post mortem, Mr. Rohatgi submitted, the High Court in confirmation proceeding of death penalty in a connected matter, upheld the sanctity of the post mortem reports -

    " Now about post mortem. The riots in Gulberg had nothing to do with this, still SIT investigated. Kindly see the confirmation case, the argument of the defence. The argument was that there was no fire, they died because of shock, so we cannot be guilty of setting fire...The finding of the HC is that the post mortem reports were proved....There is no need to keep this pot boiling, your lordships should give closure."

    Reading the recommendation of the Supreme Court, Mr. Rohatgi submitted that the Court had faith in SIT -

    "I'll read the recommendation of SC. [SIT did their job in 9 cases well]Therefore they (SIT) would continue to function till the end of the trial.

    The Bench elucidated that apart from investigation, the SIT was also made responsible by the Supreme Court for fair trial

    "SIT was responsible for not only fair investigation but also fair trial."

    To demonstrate commitment of SIT, Mr. Rohatgi stated -

    "SIT was superimposed on the Government by the SC. Out of 8 every trial ended in conviction, life sentence including death sentence.See the stark difference between these 9 cases and Best Bakery and Bilkis Bano. The SC did not have faith in those trials. They were transferred and after retrial there were convictions. That was not taken by SIT."

    He pointed out that the allegation regarding non-investigation of hate speech was not true. When Justice Ruma Pal of the Supreme Court had directed re-examination of several cases pertaining to the trial, which mostly pertained to hate speech, were looked into the the cases are being pursued by the State -

    "[Refers to a chart] - out of 2000 cases a summary. J. Ruma Pal directed re-examining of those cases. So they were re-examined...A large number of those cases relate to hate speech. It is only to show that a large no. of 2000 cases were hate speech cases and they are now being pursued by the State in courts in Gujarat. It's not that hate speech was not looked into."

    Mr. Rohatgi came back to the issue of post mortem -

    "Kindly turn to 235. This is about post mortem. See milords, 235 heading post mortem. With respect, what stories are being made up...The allegation was why was it (post mortem on railway tracks) done? Is it the remit of SIT to see why the post mortem was done on the tracks. This was a decision taken on spot (by administration).Allegation was that this hasty post mortem point towards a larger conspiracy."

    Reiterating his submission in respect of the handing over of dead bodies to private persons, Mr. Rohatgi submitted that the allegation was contrary to the finding of SIT and the Nanavati Commission -

    "Now, the handing over of bodies. We examined Mamlatdar, VHP and the police officers...I am amazed at the phrases being used. The allegation is SIT had ignored calls made by Zardafia and their criminal intention. So, should I (SIT) ask Zardafia, what did you speak to this person at this time.The allegation of handing over bodies to Jaydeep Patel is contrary to findings of SIT and Nanavati Commission.

    With respect to the meeting in Meghaninagar on 27.02.2002 which was prior to the incident.

    "Analysis of key persons in Meghaninagar namely Gulberg on 27.02.2002. Nothing happened on 27.02.2002 in Gulberg. Now, see the allegation."

    Mr. Rohatgi reads out the allegation. He argued that such an allegation would indicate that the higher ups had reached Gulberg on 27.02.2002, a day before the massacre to conspire.

    "What is there to probe when nothing happened on 27.02.2002. They are cooking up castles in the air...Even if a person passes a tower the location is picked up. The ministers were travelling. Now they say why they were travelling?..Nothing happened on 27.02.2002. So, what is the implication - The fire (train torched) took place in the morning, so ministers and officers met in Gulberga to conspire."

    Mr. Rohatgi revisited the allegation of buildup and then the Statement of Shreekumar.

    "See the buildup now...Now, kindly see about the infamous register kept by Shreekumar. They call him credible when SIT and Commission (Nanavati) gave contrary findings. It goes on and on. 5 no. of pages are now devoted to Shreekumar. Come to 399. See 459. Again about Shreekumar. See 461, again every allegation ultimately goes towards A1."

    Then, he drew attention to the allegation of meeting of 28.02.2002 ; the statement of the Collector and then to the allegation that all dead persons were not kar sevaks. He submitted -

    "If this is to the extent that you insinuate - Kindly see the allegation that no one can say that all the dead bodies were of kar sevaks...Court after courts have found that they were the bodies of kar sevaks. Some innocent persons like women and children were also there.

    Returning to the issue of fire brigade, Mr. Rohatgi argued that the same had beyond the mandate of SIT.

    "Now about the fire brigade and Pandey. Fire brigade functions under the Municipal Corporation. Rohatgi: They(other side) say, the calls are not taken by the fire brigade. So, Police Commission is to be penalised because the Municipal Corporation did not pick up the phone...Obviously, there was a failure of administration, because they were overrun. What does not taking phone call by fire brigade have to do with the additional material in Gulberg."

    Referring to the allegations made by the Petitioner to be absurd, Mr. Rohatgi submitted -

    "Turn to 703, the list of accused to be added. It ends at 708. So, no credible material except allegations in the air... So, the position is that everybody was complicit and only three fellows spoke the truth - Rahul Sharma, Shreekumar and Sanjiv. All three were adversely commented upon by SIT and Commission. That is the ultimate position...This has nothing to do with us (SIT) as per the order of the SC."

    Thereafter, two or three depositions in Gulberg were provided to the Bench.

    Reading out the complainant's deposition, Mr. Rohatgi emphasised that in her testimony for Shreekumar, she said that she had met him once; at the time of testimony he was working with Teesta Setalvad. She also testified that Shreekumar 'narazgi hain sarkar k saath'.

    Mr. Rohatgi relied on one of the periodic tables in the case of Meghaninagar filed in SC. contains a final report to show that the witness came with prepared statements and submitted it to the IO. He submitted that some of the witnesses stated that they was tutored and prepared by Teesta Setalvad.

    He commented -

    "What was supposedly started by the complaint is now taken up by Petitioner No. 2 who has been joined by Shreekumar."

    Referring to prayer of the Petitioner before the High Court to appoint an independent authority, he argued -

    "When the matter went to HC, prayer was to reject closure and appoint independent authority to investigate. SIT appointed by SC, can anybody be more independent than this. Handpicked body by SC, monitored by SC. Nothing can be more independent. They (SIT) are not only appointed but monitored by the highest court."

    Taking the Court to the relevant portions of the trial court judgment in the Gulberg matter, Rohatgi submitted that -

    "[In the TC judgment] There was a question on pre planned conspiracy. Kindly have a look at the reasons and findings. The first aspect to be considered is whether the pre-planned conspiracy at Gulberg is a part of a larger conspiracy. So, the allegation was that the smaller conspiracy at Gulberg was part of larger conspiracy by the political echelon."

    Mr. Rohatgi reading from the Trial Court judgment clarified there was no evidence to establish conspiracy. The Tehelka tapes were also considered to be unreliable to establish conspiracy.

    With respect to the finding on commencement of riot, Mr. Rohatgi pointed out -

    "There were no riots before 1:30pm. This is the finding. He is saying what happened post 1:30."

    The Bench stated, "Admittedly the material now presented with the protest petition was not before the trial court. So there was no occasion for trial court to go into it.

    Mr. Rohatgi informed the Court that some material were there.

    "Kindly see Khetan's testimony was there. It says pre-plan conspiracy. It was discarded it. There were some material on conspiracy.

    The Bench verified, "All this material was there. Khetan's evidence is also there, you say."

    Mr. Rohatgi responded, "Eye witnesses, complainant, Rahul, state govt is available. If anything else was required, that could have been summoned."

    Going back to the Trial Court's finding on the riots in Gulberg, he submitted -

    "The Court finds that, no real evidence of violence before 1:30, except some stone pelting to enforce bandh. [TC finding]There was firing by Jafri, 8 rounds were fired, injured people in crowd, the crowd became infuriated and …"

    The Bench commented that it could have been both ways -

    "Firing because of gathering or gathering because of firing, it goes all together. We will not base our analysis on the basis of the TC or HC findings"

    On the allegation of ministers influencing officers in control room in Ahmedabad, he argued -

    "Now, ministers in the control room. [TC says]No material to show the presence of the ministers."

    Hearing all the submissions, the Court was perplexed as it could not understand Mr. Rohatgi's broad submission in this regard -

    "We are not getting what you are trying to portray."

    Clarifying his intentions Mr.Rohatgi responded,

    "I was reading the TC judgment which accepts the SIT findings. Every issue now raised had been raised and thoroughly argued and TC gave findings considering all material on record...He (TC judgment) concurs with SIT that there is no evidence to show influence of ministers in the control room."

    The Court asked Mr. Rohatgi to slow down and take up the issues one by one.

    Revisiting the allegation with respect to the handing over of bodies, he submitted -

    "Allegation is that bodies were given to Patel, Patel paraded. SIT found bodies were not given to Patel, they were given to police and carried in truck. It reached Solah, kins were handed over bodies from Solah...This allegation is before your lordship, this was before the SIT and this was before the TC...This is his[TC] finding. This allegation is unclear, imaginary and false. The decision to conduct a post mortem and carrying the body, he[TC] said was justified.

    Pointing out the real concern for the Petition, the Bench stated -

    "The real question by the other side was whether there was malafide intention in the decision….Your argument is that what the other side is saying that it has not been considered by the Magistrate is not correct."

    On the issue of ministers in the control room, Mr.Rohatgi argued -

    "Now, the next allegation is about the two ministers. He[TC] has gone allegation wise. What else to do? He has gone allegation wise like SIT."

    The Bench will continue hearing the matter tomorrow. Mr. Rohatgi intends to finish arguments by lunch and then, the Counsel appearing for the State Govt. would take another hour to make their submissions.

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