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Jan 06, 2014 at 02:07pm IST

2002 riots: Verdict a moral victory for BJP, Modi, says Arun Jaitley

New Delhi: Rejuvenated by a Gujarat court upholding the Special Investigation Team (SIT) clean chit given to its prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the killings that took place at Gulbarg Housing Society in Ahmedabad during the 2002 riots in the state, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) reiterated its stand that a campaign was being carried out by vested interests to malign his image.

In a direct attack on the Congress, BJP leader Arun Jaitley claimed that the former was creating fabricated evidence against Modi to nail him in the 2002 riots case. "I have no second thoughts that the Congress party and its sponsored NGOs were carrying malicious campaigns against Gujarat CM as they know they don't hold a chance against him in the political stage," he said.

He said that the verdict has given a moral victory to BJP as well as Modi who are accused of being communal by rivals. Jaitley said that the court verdict has proved that "truth holds together and falsehood would fall apart". Calling the riots "unfortunate", the BJP leader claimed that the Gujarat government had carried out a fair investigation after the riots and arrested many people who were found to have participated in the incident.

He also accused suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt of running a malicious campaign against the Gujarat chief minister. Described as a whistleblower, Bhatt had referred to the events as "state-sponsored riots" saying that Modi had told his officials to be "indifferent" towards rioters and said that Muslims needed to be "taught a lesson". Jaitley claimed that the testimonies of all the eight officers who were part of the meet have denied Modi asking them to go slow on the rioters.

The BJP leader also accused the Congress of funding anti-Modi campaigns to suit its interests. In a veiled attack on the investigative websites, Gulail and Cobrapost, Jaitley said a campaign was being carried out against Gujarat. He said that a series of scams related to Congress have been ignored by certain websites who have taken credit for the alleged snoopgate scandal concerning Modi.

In a major boost to the 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 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.

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.

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."