NEW DELHI: Teesta Setalvad-run NGO gave baseless information about the Gujarat riots, said Union Home Minister Amit Shah after the Supreme Court on Friday rejected an appeal against the exoneration of then-state Chief Minister Narendra Modi in a 2002 riots case.
"I have read the judgment very carefully. The judgment clearly mentions the name of Teesta Setalvad. The NGO that was run being run by her - I don't remember the name of the NGO- had given baseless information about the riots to the police," Amit Shah, in an exclusive interview, said.
The apex court on Friday, while rejecting an appeal by Zakia Jafri, wife of Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the violence, said that the appeal was "devoid of merits."
A three-judge bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar, upholding the Special Investigation Team or SIT's 2012 clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Gujarat riots case, said that Setalvad, co-petitioner in the case, exploited the emotions of Zakia Jafri.
"All those involved in such abuse of process need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law," the judges said, adding that the appeal was filed under "dictation of someone."
"Antecedents of Teesta Setalvad need to be reckoned with and also because she has been vindictively persecuting this lis [dispute] for her ulterior design by exploiting the emotions and sentiments of Zakia Jafri, the real victim of the circumstances," the top court said in its order.
The case pertains to what came to be known as Gulbarg Society incident, in which 68 people, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, were killed in the riots triggered by the burning of a train coach in which 59 pilgrims perished in February 2002. A decade later, the SIT report, exonerated Narendra Modi, citing "no prosecutable evidence" in the Gulbarg Society case.
On Friday, upholding the SIT clearance, the top court dismissed the petition filed by Zakia Jafri, saying that the plea was "to keep the pot boiling, obviously, for ulterior design." The SIT had opposed the plea of Jafri saying there is a sinister plot behind the complaint to probe the "larger conspiracy" behind the 2002 Gujarat riots and the original complaint by Jafri was directed by social activist Setalvad, who had also challenged an October 2017 order of the Gujarat High Court refusing to reopen the closure report of the SIT.
"The protagonists of the quest for justice sitting in a comfortable environment in their air-conditioned office may succeed in connecting failures of the state administration at different levels during such a horrendous situation, little knowing or even referring to the ground realities and the continual effort put in by the duty holders in controlling the spontaneous evolving situation unfolding aftermath mass violence across the state," the Supreme Court said.