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Gujarat Riots- 'We Did Our Job, Somebody Might Agree With The Conclusion, Somebody Might Not Agree':Mukul Rohatgi For SIT Tells Supreme Court

Sohini Chowdhury
24 Nov 2021 4:02 PM GMT
Gujarat Riots- We Did Our Job, Somebody Might Agree With The Conclusion, Somebody Might Not Agree:Mukul Rohatgi For SIT Tells Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard the arguments of Senior Advocate, Mr. Mukul Rohatgi, appearing on behalf of the SIT in the petition by Zakia Jafri challenging the SIT report exonerating the highest functionaries of the State of Gujarat, who were alleged to have been instrumental in the Gujarat riots of 2002.

Over a course of seven days, a Bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar had heard the detailed submissions of Senior Advocate Mr. Kapil Sibal, demonstrating the failure of the SIT in investigating the matter. Per contra, on Wednesday, Mr. Rohatgi, emphatically submitted that the SIT had conducted an impeccable investigation and in certain occasions went beyond their means to meet the ends of justice.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) was appointed by the Supreme Court in 2008, when displeased with the non-commitment of the state police to investigate the riots, the National Human Rights Commission had approached it seeking interference. On 8th July 2006, Zakia Jafri had filed a complaint against the state functionaries alleging conspiracy in the Gujarat riots. The complaint was not acted upon, and therefore Zakia approached the Gujarat High Court and on dismissal of her case, the Supreme Court. The Apex Court asked the SIT appointed in 2008 to also look into her complaint. Eventually, when the SIT had filed the closure report, it was opposed by Mrs. Jafri by way of a Protest Petition filed before the Supreme Court, which sent the closure report along with the Protest Petition to the Magistrate. After hearing the parties, the Magistrate refused to direct SIT to conduct further investigation stating that doing the same would go beyond the direction of the Apex Court. The High Court in a revision petition refused to interfere but observed that it was well within the Magistrate's power to direct further investigation in the matter.

Before beginning his full fledged arguments, Mr. Rohatgi provided a background to the matter to demonstrate that the SIT had shown commitment to the investigation process. He commenced his arguments -

"My endeavour to show to Your Lordship, Milord, that the SIT appointed by the Supreme Court, Milord, conducted its job very thoroughly and efficiently and examined all relevant people, all relevant material with due application of mind spread over Milord more than two years and submitted the final report in the Gulberg case...It had to be submitted in the Gulberg case. The copies and papers were given to the complainant who filed a Protest Petition. The Magistrate with due application of mind passed a detailed order running into hundreds of pages. The High Court had also devoted very substantial time and effort in writing the orders. All this is because this was the mandate of the highest court of the land to the SIT….There is no material to conclude that there is any other conspiracy other than the cases that are already being tried. In this background, I have made a short note that I want your lordships to see. It consists of the complaint, report and relevant orders passed in this case."

Referring to his notes, which had a comprehensive List of Dates, Mr. Rohatgi narrated the relevant events that followed the Godhra carnage of 27th Feb, 2002:

"On 27.02.2002, the Godhra train carnage took place at 7:45 AM, 58 ppl charred to death, 59 victims died after a month. The same day the assembly was in session, got adjourned and the CM went to Godhra. On the same day doctors were called to the Godhra station. Post Mortem was conducted considering the condition of the dead bodies because they were charred beyond recognition. Then a decision was taken to get the bodies to Ahmedabad to facilitate handing over of dead bodies. A meeting was called by the CM...the army was alerted on the same day...the bodies moved in police escort from Godhra to the outskirts of Ahmedabad at Solah Hospital. Other people were also part of the convoy including Jaydeep Patel of VHP. Letter was written by Mamtaldar...factually bodies were not handed over to anybody and went under police escort. So much about the parading of bodies, all this is in the report. The reaction of the train carnage occurred on 28.02.2002 at 11:30 AM. On 28.02.2002, 35 bodies were handed over to the kith and kin from the Solah Hospital. 28.02.2002 call was taken to call the arm...No delay in calling the army. On 28.02.2002 itself, segments of the army started arriving...01.03.2002 deployment got was airlifted from the border...Several thousand cases were filed across the State due to riot, arson and killing...Godhra is where carnage occurred...Then, Meghaninagar which is also called the Gulberg society. The Complainant lives in that society, her husband was killed in that society by a mob...It is also on record, but not so relevant, that the husband had also fired 8 shots into the mob. 2002-03 Writ Petitions were filed. 109/2003 is the writ filed by NHRC, the others were filed by Malika Sarabhai...This court then stayed the trial in all those cases. On 17.08.2004, a order passed by J. Ruma Pal bench - wherever it is recorded that there is closure it should be further investigated whether they were correct or not...Several cases were reopened, reinvestigated and several chargesheet were filed. 08.06.2006, the Petitioner filed a complaint to DGP for registration of cases alleging conspiracy."

It was highlighted by Mr. Rohatgi that the Petitioner had not made any submissions with respect to the meeting of 27th Feb, 2002 at the office of the then Chief Minister; the testimony of Sanjeev Bhat, then SP and a police officer, RB Shreekumar, though they have been extensively dealt with in the complaint and the protest petition. He submitted -

"Three things are very important. The meeting of 27.02 at the CM office. Testimony of an IPS officer, then SP, Sanjeev Bhat. Third is another police officer RB Sreekumar. I am indicating that the complaint and protest deal extensively with their statements etc. etc."

Mr. Rohatgi pointed out that when Zafri's complaint was not registered as FIR and she had moved the Gujarat High Court, she was given the liberty to file a complaint under Section 190 CrPC. He argued -

"On 01.03.2007, the complainant filed an application under 226… complaining that the complaint was not registered as an FIR. The High Court decided the matter by a detailed judgment saying that if you want the FIR to be registered then you are at liberty to file a complaint under 190. She did not do that...Had she gone to court in 2007-08 she could have improved her complaint...But she comes to SC...SC appointed SIT on NHRC petition...They were charged with the obligation to conduct investigation in all the 9 major cases, even when the trials were stayed. Basically to see if the State is complicit, whether it had not done its job properly."

On the issue of Tehelka tapes, Mr. Rohatgi admitted that the SIT had never questioned the genuineness of the tapes, but the statements made by the accused, unsubstantiated by evidence, did not have the strength to instil confidence. He stated -

"Then the Tehelka tapes surfaced. One and half years after the complaint...There is no dispute on the genuineness of the tape. But the SIT found that the contents of the tape in as much as the sting operation etc. and the statements made by 17-18 persons before Khetan, the statement inspired no confidence, there was no material to support the statement. In fact some said that it was a part of the script...SIT found no substance in that to lodge a FIR or chargesheet. SIT gave the sting material to the court in three different courts out of those 9. One particular court had also rejected the material of the sting."

Referring to the submission made by Mr. Sibal about the non-recording of statement of Lt. Gen. Zameeruddin Shah, who was heading the operation in Gujarat during the riots, Mr. Rohatgi argued that if he had felt so strongly about police inaction, he could have asked the SIT to take his deposition. He submitted -

"My friend yesterday talked about, Major Gen posted in Gujarat wrote that the army was not given support. Army was called on the same day. So, Zameeruddin Shah's statement is irrelevant...If he had to say something, who stopped him from coming before the SIT."

Briefly recounting the timeline of the matter, Mr. Rohatgi submitted that the mandate of the SIT was limited to examining the complaint. He argued -

"Event in 2002, complaint in 2006, given to SIT in 2009, Report of SIT in 2012, Protest in 2013 and then the Trial Court and High Court and now we are in 2021. The point is we were appointed to examine the complaint, because 9 cases were already chargesheeted by the state police, with several supplementary chargesheets. When SIT took over and did further investigation, they added several chargesheet and several accused."

Mr. Rohatgi emphasised that when Zakia approached the Supreme Court and the Court had asked SIT to look into the matter, it was only in the nature of a preliminary enquiry and nothing more. He argued -

"When the courts had taken cognisance. Matters were ripe for trial, it is at that stage this case came to the SC. 24.04.2009 order - in the petition (of Zakia) against the Guj HC order, since SIT was already in place, and she was a resident of Gulberg, so the SC told SIT to take her case and examine...Complaint was not an FIR, no court said that. SC said examine, it is in the nature of preliminary enquiry because it was prior FIR."

Informing the Court that though the mandate was to look into the complaint in a preliminary manner, the SIT had conducted extensive investigation to the extent of examining 275 witnesses, Mr. Rohatgi submitted -

"Allegations were flying thick and fast against the state police etc. that is why the SC appointed the SIT. We did our job- somebody might agree with the conclusion, somebody might not agree. One member of SIT, Malhotra, a retired DIG from CBI, virtually became an IO. He himself examined 186 witnesses."

Coming to the report submitted by Mr. Malhotra, a member of the SIT, Mr. Rohatgi argued that though he had observed that most allegations did not hold ground, in certain aspects he had recommended that further investigation could be conducted by the SIT. He argued -

"Then on 01.05 SC lifted the stay. 12.05 Mr. Malhotra submitted a report stating that most of the allegations were not borne out. He said some further investigation may be done. He had recommended further investigation in reference to 3 people including Zadafia."

He added that another member of SIT, Himangshu Shukla had conducted the further investigation as suggest by Mr. Malhotra. He further averred that the report was not find in an independent matter as suggested by the Petitioners, but in the Gulberg matter given both the Petitioner and her husband were from Gulberg -

"One Himangshu Shukla conducted enquiry and gave a report. Total of these reports in terms of witnesses is 275. It is not an independent case, it is qua Gulberg because the gentleman was killed in Gulberg, the complainant lived in Gulberg, she has some personal knowledge about Gulberg...It was directed that this report which is a compendium of reports of Malhotra and Shukla be filed in the Gulberg matter."

Mr. Rohatgi asserted that the complaint of the Petitioner is in the nature of further material and not a fresh FIR or an independent case -

"In law when chargesheet has been filed in court, when court is in seizure of the matter, this complaint is in the nature of further material. That's all. It cannot be an FIR."

Mr. Rohatgi provided a list to people who were examined by the concerned members of the SIT. He stated -

"Kindly come to pg 16 of the note. These are the names of the persons who were examined in the enquiry by Shukla and Malhotra. Sr No. 1 is Zakia, Sr No. 2 is a co-petitioner in the SC, Setalvad."

It was brought to the Court's notice that though the Petitioner had extensively relied on the statement made by a police officer, Rahul Sharma, he himself was an accused in the complaint filed by her. Mr. Rohatgi argued:

"Mark the statement of Rahul Sharma. Your lordship may note here, my friend read extensively from his statement. I will show that it is a travesty of justice that in the complaint he is an accused. Today Vol 6 is devoted to his statement. Shreekumar filed 8 affidavits before the Nanavati Commission. Then it goes on and on. Item 15 is Tehalka, then the DM giving instruction to the Mamlatdar."

Clarifying that there were three Anil Patel in the matter, Mr. Rohatgi argued that it appeared that the Petitioner had mixed up the one, who was stung by the Tehelka operation.

"Item 51 and 52 is the statement of Bhat. Sr. No. 29 Statement of Anil Trivuban bhai Patel. There are three Anil Patels and your lordships may note, the person that was stung by the operation was Anil Shankar Bhai Patel, a VHP supporter. While this Patel in Sr. No. 29 who was a Minister, joined BJP in 2002. He had nothing to do with the incident. The Third Anil Patel is the doctor. They have confused it."

Arguing that the SIT had limited scope of investigation given that it was to only look at the complaint, Mr. Rohatgi submitted -

"Our job was to see if there was other credible material in the complaint of 2006 to file a further chargesheet and add further accused. That was my limit...My limit is circumscribed by the complaint."

In order to demonstrate that the SIT did its job diligently, Mr. Rohatgi averred -

"Now in this background, your lordship has the chart. This will show you in one glance what the SIT did in 9 cases. Pre SIT 48 accused, 6 charesheets. Post SIT added 26 accused and added 6 more chargesheet. 24 convicted, 39 acquitted, 17 appeals in HC and they are pending in HC. Qua Gulberg this is the position. Closure Report filed on 08.02.2012 qua the complainant and filed on the same day before the Magistrate who took cognisance in Gulberg. We filed the composite report to the SC, but it said you better go and give it to the court concerned, namely the Gulberg court."

The Bench enquired if the report submitted before the Magistrate was same as the one before the Supreme Court.

Responding in affirmative, Mr. Rohatgi added -

"Same report. Malhotra gave a report to SC in 2010 and directed further investigation. Shukla investigated further and in 2011 he gave a report to SC. Then both the reports were combined and given to the Magistrate...In fact Shukla made 2 reports, so there were 3 in total. Shukla report 1 is 17.11.2010 and Shukla report 2 is 25.04.2011..08.02.2012 is the final report. This report was accepted by the court and the protest rejected."

Mr. Rohatgi apprised the Court that SIT had done their job with utmost efficiency within their mandate which was to see that the trial was completed. He informed that apart from one trial all others have concluded -

"The SIT had diligently done its job, it had added chargesheets and accused pursuant to intense labour, working in tandem with other officers, applying their mind, and your lordship may note that they have secured convictions. Mandate is to see to it that the trials are completed. Only one trial is pending, is item no. 3...For 7 years the trial was stayed by SC... We are not today to comment on the correctness of the order."

The Bench wanted to know that when the stay on trial was lifted by the Supreme Court in 2009, then why one trial was still pending.

Mr. Rohatgi replied,"Trial is very bulky, judges have changed. Trial judge devotes 10 days in a month to this case...expected to be over in 6 months from today."

He emphasised that the job of the SIT was not to examine an indefinite number of people, they were to look at the complaint and examine material witnesses and documents. He submitted -

"Main job of SIT was this, not the complaint of Zakia. Because they were available the court said look into it. The job is to look at the complaint, examine what is material and give a report."

With respect to the Tehelka sting, Mr. Rohatgi argued that the SIT had indeed examined all the people against whom the sting was conducted, but it was considered an extra-judicial confession. Moreover, the Trial Court in the Gulberg matter had rejected the material on the Tehelka tapes. He asserted -

"Tehelka sting was against 18 ppl, they (SIT) examined them and found that in law it was only extra-judicial confession. Some are already being tried like Babu Bajrangi.The Gulberg court itself, completely rejected the material of the sting or that the sting shows any larger conspiracy. My job is to show that I investigated. So, this is about the sting."

Addressing the allegation of parading of the dead bodies, Mr. Rohatgi submitted that the bodies were escorted by police convoys. 33 out of 58 dead bodies being from Ahmedabad, a decision was taken by the administration to take them back to Ahmedabad, so that the bodies could be handed over to the respective kith/kin. It was clarified that the bodies were not handed over to a private person, namely, Jaydeep Patel as alleged by the Petitioner. He had merely accompanied the police convoy. Mr. Rohatgi averred -

"My friend talked about the parading of dead bodies. The impression he has given is that the riot was because of the complicity of police and officers...Records show bodies moved under police authorities. Jaydeep Patel accompanied the convoy (as kith and kin). We have given time for departure and arrival...33 out of the 58 dead were from Ahmedabad, so a decision was taken to take the bodies to Ahmedabad to hand over the bodies. If the kith and kin were called to Godhra to collect the body and they carried the charred bodies back, then that would have been parading."

Going through the allegation of police complicity with respect to parading of dead bodies, Mr. Rohatgi remarked that there was no such evidence, even the post mortem was carried out with utmost urgency -

"[No evidence of police complicity] We found that the post mortem was done on the platform by doctors from all over the State, there were specialised doctors."

Recounting the events of 27th Feb, 2002 and 28th Feb, 2002, he informed the Court that SIT had later found out that the attack on the train was pre-planned and adequate preparations were made in that regard.

"We found later that there was a preparation for carrying out the dastardly attack by locking the doors, petrol, kerosene thrown and it was set on fire. Recounting events of 27th and 28th- The pre planned attack, 58 charred to death, movement of dead bodies by convoy, reached Solah Civil Hospital, news spread. Then 28th afternoon meeting by CM, army called in, riots at 11:30, police overwhelmed, 1000s or 100s of incidents, 9 major, reached 11pm onwards. Last contingent of the army came the next day, riots fizzled out in the evening of 01.03.2002."

Referring to relevant Supreme Court orders in the concerned matter, Mr. Rohatgi submitted -

"I'll show orders of SC dated 26.03.2008, 27.04.2009, 12.09.2011, 08.06.2006 complaint, final composite report dated 08.02.2012. Then tomorrow I will focus on parading, Tehelka, CDR, and mobile phones. A mobile phone used in 2002, SIT will take from persons in 2010...?"

Looking at the magnitude of the protest petition, he commented -

"Can there be a protest petition of omnibus character? My friend says that the protest should be treated as an independent complaint…"

Refuting the argument of Mr. Sibal that the complaint of the Petitioner is in the nature of a fresh complaint and has no bearing to the proceedings in Gulberg matter, Mr. Rohatgi submitted -

"Gujarat High Court told her, please go under 190. She doesn't do that, she comes here...My friend says it is not related to Gulberg, then what is it related to?...Complainant does not go under 190, comes to SC. She wanted FIR against all and sundry. When the report comes against her, she files a protest which was rejected. Now they say that, treat the protest petition as a fresh complaint. Under which law?"

Thereafter, Mr. Rohatgi refers to the Supreme Court order by which the SIT was appointed. Mr. Rohatgi apprised the Court that considering that it would not be possible for SIT to record statements of innumerable people, the Supreme Court had directed that the person willing to make a statement could approach the SIT. Accordingly, SIT had advertised the direction in newspapers -

"Last line (order) If any person wants to make a statement before SIT giving her/his version SIT should record. SIT gave an advertisement in newspapers...Intimate, so SIT can call in. ...This was the limit of SIT originally."

The Bench sought clarification, "Each case was to be investigated separately."

Mr. Rohatgi responded, "Yes, your lordship. The mantel to SIT given by court is that of a police officer."

Coming to the Supreme Court order pertaining to the complainant, he argued that SIT was directly to only look into the mater -

"Next document is 228, this is the SC order qua the complainant..The SIT shall look into the matter and take steps. The order is to look into the matter and it was not FIR. What we did was much more, yet uncharitable remarks are made against SIT."

Then, the Court's attention was drawn to the order of the Supreme Court dated 12.09.2011, he argued that when the court says look into, it would mean to look at the complaint in the context of Gulberg without filing any fresh FIR. Mr. Rohatgi submitted -

"The next order of SC dated 12.09.2011. By this time Malhotra and Shukla had done their jobs and filed reports before the SC...Kindly mark the court here is conscious, says 'look into'.[Reading from the SC order]Kindly note your lordship that if we were hiding something, Malhotra would not have ordered further investigation against a Cabinet minister...[Court said]You give your report to the court which took cognisance of Gulberg. To be added to the trial that was ongoing. [In the SC order] Mark, the word closure in the closure report is in inverted commas. It means it is a closure without recording an FIR. This was the import."

The Bench remarked,"The process followed is not in strict accord with CrPC. Under 142 certain directions are given."

Mr. Rohatgi, commented on the use of Section 173 CrPC. According to him, the Petitioner's complaint was only the nature of a preliminary enquiry. He argued -

"173 has been used correctly. A report of further investigation has to be present under 173(2) itself. Police are empowered...If some material comes to the knowledge of the police during the trial they are to inform the court. Kindly turn to S.173, report the Police officer after investigation."

The Bench remarked, " S.173(8) also refers to S.173(2)."

Mr. Rohatgi continued -

"Police can say they have some new material in the form of a statement maybe...The importance of order which is couched into a calculated manner by using the phrases closure and look into, in inverted commas and indicating that it is further material in Gulberg case."

The Bench noted, "So, it is not the direction of further investigation as such...Court kept a distinction between further investigation and enquire into. It is a midway."

At this juncture, Mr. Rohatgi provided the Court with an original copy of the complaint that he had obtained from Gujarat and informed the Court that in the original complaint Rahul Sharma is named as an accused, however in the one before the Supreme Court, his name is deliberately omitted, since the Petitioner had exhaustively relied on his statement. He submitted -

"Come to 45, there is a blank. In 45 is one Satish Verma IPS and your lordship will find in pg 52 the last accused is 62. In the original complaint it is 63 and 63 is Satish Verma. The duplication is a clerical error. He occurs twice. Now Milords see in this thick volume. This is how it is filed in SLP. At pg 101 is individual accusation of all the 63, the first being CM, second being law minister. Kindly turn to 45. There is no 45. So in the body of the petition Satish Verma appears twice. Now take up the original complaint. Who is this 45? Is it Satish or someone else. Now, in the original complaint, 45 is Rahul Sharma. I submit that it is a deliberate omission. Let me read the accusation. He is an IPS officer. Abetted breakdown of governance. Why is it missing? Because today Mr. Sibal argues he is a hero, because vol. 6 of Mr. Sibal is devoted to him...What you are arguing before the court is in contrary. You cannot tamper with documents in the highest court of the land...I had shown the original complaint where there is a whole passage on Rahul Sharma. In the copy given to your lordship it is missing. The long and short is in the copy filed there is no 45, no 63 to start with. In this original this is how it appears...Today at this junction your lordship may see their Vol VI at pg. G. Today he (Rahul Sharma) is their hero. They are saying he was targeted in 2011. Now, they are saying that he did the right thing. [Referring to Vol VI]His statement before Nanavati Commission on political interference, and Sandesh Newspaper and it goes on and on and on 104, his statement was read out to your lordship. This is to show that now they say he was a great officer. In the complaint he is accused of heinous offences. It is not an accidental omission."

Seeking clarity the Bench asked Mr. Rohatgi, " The complaint copy is not filed as per you?"

It was his response that, "It is the doctored document. According to me, this case must end here."

Thereafter, Mr. Rohatgi skimmed through the allegation of the Petitioner to finally demonstrate that SIT had indeed examined all material documents, witnesses and accused -

"Milord, pg 52 of my compilation. Complaint addresses PC Pandey. Some reckless allegations. Kindly see. Now, kindly turn to pg. 54, para 10 is the meeting of 27.02.2002. Not touched by Petitioner, therefore not touched by me. Then, State sponsored events. As if the State sponsored the riots. Then cases are mentioned...Then the Gulberg case. See para 14. Now about the manner and fashion in which bails were granted - now that judiciary is at the receiving end. para 15 onwards there is a reference to an affidavit like hearsay. Then about Rahul Sharma...Then Milord, para 17, Shreekumar affidavit, then Rahul Sharma statement before Nanavati (Commission). This is not due material. Yet SIT examined each of these people...Mr. Rohatgi mentions paragraphs from the complaint. See para 58 is general, See 59, PC Pandey's comments on TV. Then she talks about Gulberg Society, where the problem happened in her area. Then against police, then against Govt. Para 64 is the NHRC Report. Then about transfers - What will SIT do with transfers. It cannot ask the Govt why they were transferred...Kindly see Guj. Govt and Nanavati, talks about the attitude of Govt in steam rolling Nanavati. As far as I am concerned, what am I to do with this? ...See non filing of affidavit. Completely irrelevant material. I am giving you a flavour of the complaint and then I'll show what our people (SIT) did...See milord para 85 - nepotism of govt in transfer promotion etc. See at the bottom, an item on public prosecutors. Milord I heard Mr. Sibal repeatedly say that though Arvind Pandeya was a PP he was arranging defence."

With respect to the allegations against Arvind Pandeya that had been elaborately argued by Mr. Sibal, that he had collaborated with the police and had made arrangements for the defence of the accused, Mr. Rohatgi submitted that he was not in charge of any matter -

"Milord, kindly note that Pandeya was not handling a single case. He was representing the Govt before Nanavati Commission. Also Pandeya resigned as PP from the Commission in 2008, much before SIT came into the scene."

Mr. Rohatgi further asserted that Anil Patel was not a minister at the time of the riots, he was merely a businessman -

"pg 101 - allegation against each of the accused. All of them were completely general. Kindly see, Anil Patel became a minister later, he was a businessman at the time of the riots….Each one of these fellows were examined by the SIT. In hindsight one would say why did you examine when there are no allegations. Here the accusation is general and now it is becoming specific. The accusation is because you are VHP."

When it came to the allegations against Babu Bajrangi, Mr. Rohatgi stated that he was facing conviction in Naroda Pateya and was tried in Naroda Gaam.

"Now, Babu Bajrangi. He is convicted and facing trial in another case and stung by the operation. He wears three caps."

Pointing out that the complaint does not mention the arguments made by Mr. Sibal, he continued -

"This is the flavour of the complaint and everything Mr. Sibal has argued is not here. Because it was the mandate of the SC, see to what extent the SIT goes (to investigate)."

Mr. Rohatgi emphasised that when Zakia appeared before Mahapatra, she was not ready to make a statement until her complaint was registered as FIR. He argued -

"What did the police do wrong? They said, come and record the statement and the same you be placed before the judge."

Mr. Rohatgi highlighted that the SIT had culled out all the allegations and dealt with them exercising prudence. He narrated how the SIT dealt with the issues of PPs of VHP, statement of Shreekumar, Kodnani, Jaydeep Patel, Babu Bajrangi, Erda, parading of dead bodies, political interference in control room, ill treatment meted out to dutiful officers -

VHP lawyers

"We have culled out some 30-40 allegations. Kindly see 14, unkind and untrue allegations on deployment of the army. item 15 is Pro VHP PPs. The SIT has paraphrased every allegation made. I am not reading, but kindly note that they (SIT) had culled out some 30 allegations. So, what they have done is wherever there are general paragraphs, they have culled it out."

Kodnani, Jaydeep Patel, Babu Bajrangi and Erda

"Para h, Kodnani, Jaydeep and Babu and Erda are chargesheeted and tried. Kodnani was arrested, was convicted in Naroda Pateya. If SIT was partisan then it would not have arrested a sitting Minister. Jaydeep Patel and Kodnani accused in Naroda Gaam, trial is going on. Babu convicted in Pateya and facing trial in Gaam. This Erda was a Police officer, was chargesheeted, but acquitted."

Parading Dead Bodies

"Now Milord see 261 top. This is about parading (dead bodies from Godhra to Ahmedabad). I have given synopsis to your lordship of this parading. Now see what they have done. I want to read this.

Mr. Rohatgi pointed out that the SIT concluded that the bodies were in custody of police; they were brought to Ahmedabad at night; there was no one on the highway, therefore it cannot be considered as parading. The Mamlatdar handing over the body to Jaydeep Patel was indeed criticised by the SIT.

Statement of Shreekumar

Every person in every paragraph has been examined and from there they have reconstructed this about Sreekumar….One correction, I had said that the other side does not rely on Shreekumar, but they want to rely on Shreekumar, his affidavits but not the register.

Political interference in city control room

"Now on allegation of presence of two ministers in Ahmedabad city control room. Kindly now see on Jadeja. They (SIT) examined every relevant person - two ministers, police officers, Additional Chief Secretary. Concluded that one did not visit, one visited but was sitting in a different room. It was a matter of practice, to help the police...The presence of the Minister would boost morale of the police, that the minister is not hiding in his house."

Officers ill treated with transfers and some rewarded

"Then there is allegation no. 6 regarding officials Ill treated with transfers and some rewarded. Who is ill treated - Rahul Sharma, who was an accused. Satish Verma and Shreekumar...The context of the allegation is that the ones who maintained law and order were made victims. The transfer was made at a time when they were the most needed...That is for the Govt. to decide. This was beyond the limit of SIT. We have still not skirted any issue...Even Sharma himself does not want to comment because it is the prerogative of Govt. He was transferred from Bhavnagar to the capital. ..Milord, mark the period. Shreekumar was appointed as ADG 09.04.2002 onwards, two months after the riots. So, he had no personal knowledge of the riots. Before this he was ADG, Arms Unit, which had nothing to do with law and order situations...It appears he (Shreekumar) turned against the Govt. after he was superseded, which was in 2005. SIT concludes, testimony of Shreekumar is motivated, he kept record, he recorded conversation with Pandeya and Murmu. He kept it guarded until he was superseded….Then it talks about those rewarded. I am not reading, but I want to show you, Milord, that SIT has dealt with each fellow, everybody's role etc."

The Bench to continue hearing Mr. Rohatgi's arguments tomorrow.

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