Gujarat riots: Amicus curiae says Modi can be prosecuted

Narendra Modi

In a jolt to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, a Supreme Court-appointed amicus curiae has held he can be prosecuted under various sections of the IPC for "promoting enmity among different groups" during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

The report by Raju Ramchandran on the complaint of Zakia Jafri is in sharp contrast to the report of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) which had earlier given a clean chit to Modi and others.

"In my opinion, the offences which can be made out against Shri Modi, at this prima facie stage, are offences inter alia under Sections 153 A (1) (a) & (b) of IPC which means promoting enmity among different groups on grounds of religion and 153 B (1) which says assertions prejudicial to national integration," Ramchandran said in his report.

"He (Modi) should also be prosecuted under IPC 166 which says public servant disobeying law, with intent to cause injury to any person and 505 (2) meaning statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will," the amicus curiae said in the report.

The SIT in its report had rejected suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's allegations that Modi had given instructions in a meeting held on February 27, 2002 to "allow Hindus to vent their ire and teach Muslims a lesson" in the wake of the Godhra train burning incident. Bhatt had filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court in this regard.

Regarding Bhatt, the amicus curiae (adviser to court) said that "in my opinion, despite the aforesaid background (SIT rejecting Bhatt's claims), it does not appear very likely that a serving police officer would make such a serious allegation against Shri Modi, the Chief Minister of the State, without some basis".

"There is no documentary material of any nature whatsoever which can establish that Shri Bhatt was not present at the meeting on 27.02.2002. In the absence of the minutes of the meeting, there is again no documentary material available as to the participants in the meeting and what transpired at the said meeting.

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