That while making the suggestions below as directed by this Hon’ble Court, Citizens of Justice and Peace would like to reiterate that given the malafide actions mentioned above, the pressures on the conduct of the criminal trials are likely to remain given the state of Gujarat’s hostile and unreasonable attitude. Transfer of these trials remains the best remedy under the circumstances. Hence if the NHRC petition for transfer out of the State of Gujarat is not granted, Special steps including Day to Day Observation by independent Observers in each of the trials appointed directly by the Supreme Court, would be required to ensure that the trials having reached this stage are not subverted.
Further suggestions in the petition were made with specific reference to Designated Courts, Prosecutors, Victim Protection, Monitoring the trials and Recording of Evidence.
Further details can be found here:
Sit Ordered to Probe Incomplete Investigation(September 8, 2009)
Application Under 173(8) filed by Witnesses and Citizens for Justice and Peace
Media Reports highlight how the Special Investigation Team(SIT) which was to probe into the 2002 riots was ordered by a special court to produce evidence in front of the court which was missing. This included video evidence as well as meta data. The meta data was the phone records of former MP Ehsan Jaffery. This order came about after an application filed by CJP which highlighted the holes in the investigation conducted by the SIT. The CJP advocate alleged that several witnesses had told the SIT in their statements that Ehsan Jaffery had called many police officers and leaders with desperate pleas including Director General of Police K Chakrabarty, then Police Commissioner P C Pande to then city’s mayor and the Leader of Opposition. But the SIT had not bothered to investigate it. With regards to the video evidence, the application suggests that video recording by journalist Ashish Khaitan in a sting operation which recorded a conversation between Babu Bajrangi and others accused in the related cases. The media reports were from a variety of papers such as Daily Pioneer, Times of India and DNA.
SIT forced to submit police records in Gulberg Case, phone records of 3 accused missing (October 7, 2009) – Press Release by CJP
Despite finally producing the missing evidence after being directed by a special Court, the SIT’s dossier still doesn’t account for all the evidence. The mobile phone records of all three accused, Madan Chawal, Prahlad Raju and Mangilal Jain caught making filthy confessions by Ashish Khaitan of Tehelka(in a previously mentioned sting operation) were again reported by SIT to be ‘missing.’ The reason given was varying statements by mobile telephone companies like BSNL etc that ‘they did not preserve mobile phone records beyond six months to one year.
Furthermore, the press release mentions the lack of thorough investigation by the SIT. This can be seen as the statement of Ashish Khaitan was recorded by SIT on January 18, 2009 and again on March 12, 2009. However, no efforts were made by SIT to interrogate the three Gulberg accused on whom Ashish Khaitan had conducted a sting operation nor claim their mobile phone records of the relevant time. Moreover, despite citing him as a Prosecution witness no efforts had been made by SIT to acquire the equipment used by Khaitan for the investigation or speak to his senior in Tehelka magazine. In short no efforts were made to authenticate Khaitan’s evidence.