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Dec 26, 2013 at 05:03pm IST

2002 riots: Court rejects Zakia's plea against SIT clean chit to Modi

Ahmedabad: In a major boost to the Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the court of Metropolitan Magistrate BJ Ganatra found no merit in the protest petition filed by Zakia Jafri, the wife of late Congress leader Ehsan Jafri who was killed during the 2002 riots.

The court rejected Zakia's petition in its order passed on Thursday and upheld the clean chit given to Modi by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) in the killings that took place at Gulbarg Housing Society in Ahmedabad during the 2002 riots in Gujarat. The court observed that IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's statement cannot be relied upon.

ALSO SEE Timeline: SIT probe in the 2002 Gujarat riots cases

SIT RK Raghavan welcomed the court order saying the investigations carried out by his team have been proved right. "We worked very hard in the investigations," he said.

Reacting to the court order, SIT lawyer RS Jamuvar said that Zakia is now free to approach the higher court.

ALSO SEE 2002 Gujarat riots: Narendra Modi never said 'go and kill people', says SIT

While the SIT had said that it has found no evidence whatsoever, Zakia had argued that there is adequate evidence to prosecute Modi and others who include police officers, bureaucrats and political leaders.

According to Zakia's protest petition, "Modi instructed top officials to allow Hindus to vent their anger on Muslims after the Godhra train burning incident. IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's affidavit supports this allegation. Modi indulged in hate speeches that amounted to creating enmity between communities. Ministers were posted at police control rooms to interfere with effective police functioning."

Following the September 2011 Supreme Court order, the SIT filed a closure report in the magisterial court in February 2012. SIT lawyer RS Jamuvar said that the investigation agency did not find any evidence against Modi and hence the closure report had been filed.