The Supreme Court on Friday said there is “no tittle of the material” to support the plea that the 2002 Godhra riots were a pre-planned event, owing to a criminal conspiracy hatched at the highest level in Gujarat.
“There is no tittle of the material, much less tangible material to support the plea of the appellant that the Godhra incident (that) unfolded on February 27, 2002, and the events which followed, were a pre-planned event owing to the criminal conspiracy hatched at the highest level in the State,” a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar said.
The apex court said the Special Investigation Team had recorded the statements of all concerned, including the officials, before forming the opinion, as noted in the final report, to discard the allegation.
The top court also said inaction or non-responsive administration, can be no basis to infer hatching of criminal conspiracy by the authorities of the State Government.
The Magistrate, as well as the High Court, committed no error whatsoever in accepting the final report presented by the SIT.
“Thus understood, the argument pressed into service about the existence of materials regarding the build-up of communal mobilizations and stockpiling of weapons, arms and ammunition even before the Godhra episode on February 27, 2002, being part of the larger criminal conspiracy, is devoid of merits,” the bench also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and C T Ravikumar said.
It said, “There is the absence of clear and direct material indicative of involvement of named persons in hatching a criminal conspiracy to cause mass violence across the State targeting (the) minority community”.
“The attempt of the appellant (Zakia Jafri) is bordering on the sewing of insignificant unconnected circumstances and events regarding the failures and in some cases, laxity in administration, which is being projected as an act of concerted effort of all the State officials up to the highest level without there being any tittle of material to show that there was the meeting of minds of all these persons at some level,” the bench said.
The top court’s observation came while upholding the SIT’s clean chit to then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and 63 others in the 2002 riots in the state and while dismissing a plea by slain Congress leader Ehsan Jafri’s wife Zakia, who had alleged a larger conspiracy.
Bringing the curtains down on the bid to reopen the probe, the apex said the material collected during the investigation does not give rise to strong or grave suspicion regarding the hatching of a larger criminal conspiracy at the highest level for causing mass violence against Muslims.