With out parrying a single query out of the 100-odd ones put to him by the 2002 Gujarat riots SIT, Narendra Modi because the then Gujarat chief minister “stored his cool” all through the marathon 9-hour questioning and didn’t settle for even a cup of tea from investigators, the probe crew’s chief at the moment RK Raghavan has stated in a brand new e book.
Modi had additionally readily agreed to come back to the SIT workplace in Gandhinagar for the questioning and introduced his personal bottle of water, Raghavan has written in his autobiography, ‘A Street Effectively Travelled’.
Earlier than being requested to go the Supreme Court docket-appointed SIT that probed the 2002 Gujarat riots, Raghavan had additionally served as head of premier probe company CBI.
He was additionally concerned in a number of different high-profile investigations over years, together with these regarding the Bofors rip-off, the 2000 South Africa cricket-match fixing case and the fodder rip-off.
Speaking in regards to the time the SIT had known as Modi for questioning because the then Gujarat chief minister, Raghavan writes within the e book, “We had it conveyed to his workers that he needed to are available in particular person to the SIT workplace for this function and that assembly him elsewhere could be misconstrued as a favour.”
“He (Modi) understood the spirit of our stand and readily agreed to come back to the SIT workplace throughout the authorities complicated in Gandhinagar,” Raghvan stated.
The previous police supply additional stated he took the “uncommon step” of asking Ashok Malhotra, an SIT member, to do the questioning, primarily to keep away from any “mischievous allegation” later that Modi and he had struck a deal.
“This stand was endorsed months later by no much less an individual than amicus curiae Harish Salve. He instructed me that my presence would have vitiated Modi’s assertion and would have robbed it of its credibility,” Raghavan stated, including that he had by no means consulted Salve previous to the occasion.
It was my private resolution flowing from sheer instinct, stated the retired IPS officer of Tamil Nadu cadre, who was additionally appointed as Excessive Commissioner to Cyprus in 2017.
“Modi’s questioning lasted 9 hours in my very own chamber on the SIT workplace. Malhotra instructed me later that Modi stored his cool proper via the marathon session which ended late at evening,” Raghavan stated.
“He (Modi) by no means parried questions. Nor did he give the impression of padding up his responses. When Malhotra requested him whether or not he wish to break for lunch, he initially turned down the supply. He introduced his personal bottle of water and didn’t settle for even a cup of tea from the SIT through the marathon questioning comprising a 100-odd questions,” he stated.
Raghavan stated it required “great persuasion” to make Modi comply with a brief recess.
“This was probably Modi’s concession to the necessity for a respite for Malhotra somewhat than for himself. Such was the vitality of the person.”
In February 2012, the SIT filed a closure report, giving a clear chit to Modi and 63 others, together with senior authorities officers, saying there was “no prosecutable proof” in opposition to them.
Within the e book, the previous CBI Director additionally asserted that the probe into the Gujarat riots by the Supreme Court docket-mandated SIT underneath him was “scientific and professional” and the SIT’s “unequivocal stand” on the chief minister’s function was “unpalatable to his (Modi’s) adversaries” within the state and in Delhi.
“They engineered petitions in opposition to me, accusing me of favouring the chief minister. The grapevine had it that they misused central businesses to observe my telephonic conversations. They had been, nevertheless, upset to not discover something incriminating,” he stated.
Raghavan stated false expenses had been aired in opposition to him on the sly to begin with, and later brazenly.
“Fortuitously, the apex courtroom stood by me and backed me to the hilt. I used to be discovered inconvenient as a result of I refused to purchase the argument that the state administration connived with the rioters who had been focusing on the Muslim group. Our investigation was scientific and professional,” he asserted.
“If I displayed a measure of professional acumen and objectivity, it was not a little bit as a result of sterling help of Ashok Kumar Malhotra, whom I inducted into the SIT in 2009,” stated Raghvan praising Malhotra, who was requested to supervise the crew’s work after the apex courtroom allowed Raghavan to be relieved from the responsibility in 2017.
With out naming anybody, Raghavan stated it was unlucky that he was the goal of assault by these instigated by “extremely positioned individuals on the helm of affairs in Delhi”.
Speaking in regards to the Ehsan Jafri case, he stated there was no file to ascertain that the Congress MP had tried to achieve the chief minister by telephone.
“A couple of others, together with Sanjeev Bhat, had additionally alleged that the chief minister, at a late-night official assembly on 28 February 2002, had directed senior law enforcement officials current on the assembly to not intervene if Hindu feelings overflowed. Right here once more, there was no corroboration to the cost,” Raghvan asserted.
None whose presence on the assembly was established past doubt instructed SIT that they noticed Sanjeev Bhat on the assembly, held basically to evaluation the regulation and order scenario arising from the Godhra prepare assault, he stated.
“In our report back to the apex courtroom we absolved the chief minister of the alleged unlawful course to the police,” he stated. Raghavan assumed workplace as head of SIT in early 2008 and carried on for 9 years, till April 30, 2017.