27 Mar : Chief Minister Narendra Modi was on Saturday questioned for five hours by the Supreme Court appointed SIT on his alleged role in the Gujarat riots, the first time he was being probed since the carnage eight years back.
The questioning which lasted for five-and-a-half-hours remained inconclusive and will resume in the night.
“I am taking a break from questioning” a smiling 59-year-old BJP leader told reporters putting up a brave face,
as he emerged out of the Special Investigation Team (SIT)
office at the old state secretariat building in Gandhinagar.
Modi said he will try to come back around 9 pm.
SIT Chief R K Raghavan was not present at his office when Modi appeared in response to the panel’s summons.
The SIT’s second-in-command A K Malhotra and a former CBI DIG questioned the Chief Minister.
Modi suffered the ignominy of being the first-ever chief minister of any state to be questioned in a criminal
complaint of mass murder after he and his administration were accused of aiding and abetting riots in one area in Ahmedabad.
Ending the suspense as to where and when he would appear after he was summoned for questioning in connection with a complaint of Zakia Jaffery, widow of former Congress MP Eshan Jaffery, Modi reached the SIT office around noon.
Jaffery was killed in the riots in Gulbarg society in 2002 along with 69 others.
The complaint among other things alleged there was a wider conspiracy by Modi and his administration and that he had instructed officers not to take action.
“My appearance here is a “kara jawab” (fitting reply) to my detractors. I have given a resounding reply to those who doubted my intentions. I hope such talks by vested interests will stop,” Modi said.
Modi injected some humour in his interaction with waiting reporters saying he has come to give them “some masala”.
When asked whether he was given tea, he tried to impress the media corps saying he had made arrangements for beverages to be served to them.
He also said that he wanted to given some time to SIT to do some “homework” before the resumption of questioning.
Attempting to take a high moral ground, Modi said the SIT probe is impartial and does not have any Gujarat officer.
Modi claimed he had anwsered all questions put by SITand that he would prefer questioning to end in one day.
“Vistak se batcheet ki (we spoke in detail),” he said adding, “In Indian constitution, law is supreme. As a common man, CM, I am bound by the Indian constitution and law.”