Lower court goes along with dirty SIT’s clean chit to Modi

Indian Americans renew commitment to secure justice for victims of Gujarat pogroms

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy organization dedicated to preserving India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has called into question a dubious verdict of the lower court in the Narendra Modi Gujarat pogroms case. A Magistrate’s court in Gujarat handed down the verdict in the case filed by Mrs. Zakia Jafri and Citizens for Justice and Peace earlier today. The court dismissed as inadequate the evidence available to charge-sheet Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on various criminal charges.

In a media advisory sent earlier this week, IAMC highlighted the chronology of how the Special Investigation Team was named by the then Amicus Curiae Harish Salve to comprise of officers with a record of conducting questionable investigations that were favorable to the Modi administration. Many of these officers belonged to the Gujarat cadre and as such reported to the Modi administration as subordinates.

Harish Salve was involved in brokering a multi-billion rupee deal with the Modi administration while he was naming the SIT members, an investigation later found out. Salve was subsequently replaced but the investigation was already compromised.

“The judgement by the lower court is not surprising given the fact that getting justice from any court in Gujarat is difficult under an administration that is itself the prime accused,” said Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. “Zakia Jafri’s resolve to take the case to a higher court must be applauded. Declarations of Modi being exonerated are a deliberate attempt to mislead the public about the case’s status,” added Mr. Khan.

Multiple SIT officers were either accused in the 2002 violence or were indicted in other criminal cases for compromising the investigations:

  1. Geeta Johri – A Gujarat cadre officer in the SIT, has been accused by the Supreme Court of India of sabotaging the investigation of the ‘fake encounter’ killing of Sohrabuddin. She destroyed key evidence that would have led to the conviction of Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah’s conviction.
  2. Ashish Bhatia – A Gujarat cadre officer who has been accused of inducting officers into SIT who were involved in the extra-judicial ‘fake encounter’ killing of Ishrat Jahan, an innocent teenage girl shot in cold blood by Gujarat police and later declared to be a dreaded terrorist out to kill Modi. He is also accused of filing incomplete charge-sheets in the 2002 violence cases and pressuring the special public prosecutor in the Gulbarg case of tilt the prosecution against the eye-witnesses.
  3. YC Modi – member of SIT that led the controversial investigation in the murder of Minister Haren Pandya under the Modi administration. The family of Haren Pandya has disowned the investigation. The investigation has been criticized by Pandya’s family for scapegoating Muslim youth while ignoring the role of Chief Minister Modi in Pandya’s murder. Pandya had testified at the concerned citizen’s tribunal accusing CM Narendra Modi of urging his administration to “allow Hindus to vent their anger”.

“Given the corrupt pro-Modi team comprising the SIT, the lower court verdict vindicates the initial claim of the Petitioner Zakia Jafri that free and fair trial is not possible in the State of Gujarat” said Ahsan Khan. “The Supreme Court must take cognizance of this fact and move this case outside of the state of Gujarat” he added. Given the compromised nature of administration and judiciary, the Supreme Court has already moved several cases related to the 2002 Gujarat pogroms outside the state of Gujarat.

The petitioner has the option to appeal the judgment in a higher court in Gujarat or petition the Supreme Court to move the case outside of Gujarat.

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with several chapters across the nation.

REFERENCES:

Whose Amicus is Harish Salve?
http://archive.tehelka.com/story_main49.asp?filename=Ne120311WhoseAmicus.asp
Who is Geeta Johri?
http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/who-is-geeta-johri-41009

Sitting on the truth: The several failures of the Special Investigation Team appointed to reinvestigate nine major cases of violence that occurred in Gujarat 2002
http://www.sabrang.com/cc/archive/2010/mar10/cover1.html

CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
phone/fax: (800) 839-7270
emailinfo@iamc.com
address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053

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