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Will Modi be summoned for riots probe, asks high court

Thursday, January 21, 2010 02:53:37 PM, IANS

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Gandhinagar: The Gujarat High Court Wednesday sought to know whether the Nanavati Commission plans to summon Chief Minister Narendra Modi in its probe into the 2002 Godhra train burning and the statewide communal riots that followed.


Also to be summoned are former state home minister Gordhan Jhadapia and legislative assembly speaker Ashok Bhatt among others.


The division bench comprising Chief Justice S. Mukhopadhyay and Justice Anang Dave directed the state's advocate general to reply to the court in this regard by Feb 15.


If the advocate general fails to comply, the court will take a decision in accordance with the law on the petition filed by the Jan Sangharsh Manch, which has sought that the chief minister and the others depose before the commission, the court stated.


The high court order comes a day after the Supreme Court asked the Gujarat government to hand over 14 documents related to the riots, including transcripts of three of Modi's alleged inflammatory speeches after the Godhra train carnage, to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the apex court.


The high court's directions came on a petition filed by the Manch, challenging the commission's decision in November last year against summoning the chief minister for deposition.


The Manch, which represents the victims of the 2002 communal riots, had moved an application in April 2007 before the Commission demanding that Modi, Jhadapia, Bhatt, the former health minister, IPS officer R.J. Sawavani and three officers of the Chief Minister's Office be summoned before it.


The plea remained pending for over two years before the commission ruled against summoning Modi in September 2009. On Sep 18, 2008, the Nanavati Commission, comprising retired high court judges G.T. Nanavati and Akshay Mehta, submitted the first part of it's report on the Godhra carnage and virtually gave a clean chit to Modi.


Fifty-nine people were burnt alive when a violent mob set ablaze two coaches of the Sabarmati Express at the Godhra railway station on Feb 27, 2002. Many of them were Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists returning after a campaign in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.


The gruesome incident led to sectarian violence in which 1,169 people, a majority of them Muslims, were killed.












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