Gujarat HC issues notice to state govt on ex-DGP Sreekumar’s discharge plea in fabrication of evidence case

 The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the state government on a plea moved by former Director General of Police (DGP) R B Sreekumar seeking discharge in a case pertaining to fabrication of evidence to frame “innocent people” in the 2002 riots cases.

The court of Justice Hasmukh Suthar issued the notice to the state government and investigating officer of the case returnable on September 26.

Sreekumar, along with social activist Teesta Setalvad and former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, were arrested by the city crime branch in June 2022 on charges of forgery and fabricating false evidence with the intent to implicate Gujarat government functionaries, including the then chief minister Narendra Modi, in the 2002 riots cases.

Sreekumar, who is out on a regular bail along with Setalvad, moved the high court, challenging the order of the sessions court rejecting his discharge plea in June.

He has claimed innocence in the case and said he was wrongly implicated as he had nothing to do with Jafri’s appeal against the closure report of the Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team (SIT).

A first information report (FIR) was registered against the three accused after the Supreme Court dismissed the plea filed by Zakia Jafri, whose husband and former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri was killed during the riots.

They were booked under sections 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating) and 194 (giving or fabricating false evidence with the intent to procure conviction for capital offence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), among others.

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The plea alleged a “larger conspiracy” behind the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat involving the then CM Modi. The court upheld the SIT’s clean chit to Modi and 63 others.

In its judgment, the Supreme Court had observed, “At the end of the day, it appears to us that a coalesced effort of the disgruntled officials of the State of Gujarat along with others was to create sensation by making revelations which were false to their own knowledge.”

“The falsity of their claims had been fully exposed by the SIT after a thorough investigation … As a matter of fact, all those involved in such abuse of process, need to be in the dock and proceed in accordance with law,” it said.

Ehsan Jafri was among the 68 people killed at Ahmedabad’s Gulberg Society during the violence on February 28, 2002, a day after the Godhra train burning that claimed 59 lives.

The riots that it triggered killed 1,044 people, mostly Muslims. Giving details, the central government informed the Rajya Sabha in May 2005 that 254 Hindus and 790 Muslims were killed in the post-Godhra riots.

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