Chief minister Narendra Modi appeared before the Supreme Court-appointed SIT today and was questioned for the first time for his role in the 2002 Gujarat riots that have come back to haunt him.
Ending the suspense as to where he would appear, the 59-year-old senior BJP leader drove to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) office around noon at the old state secretariat building here.
Modi suffered the ignominy of being the first-ever chief minister of any state to be called for questioning in a criminal complaint of mass murder after he and his administration were accused of aiding and abetting riots in one area in Ahmedabad.
SIT chief RK Raghavan was not present at the SIT office when Modi appeared. Another SIT member AK Malhotra is believed to be questioning the chief minister.
Elaborate security arrangements were made at the SIT office for the deposition of the chief minister where a large crew of media persons had assembled since morning.
Clad in a crisp white kurta and pyjama, Modi greeted the waiting media persons with folded hands after alighting from his car before proceeding to the SIT building.
The SIT had summoned Modi to depose in connection with a complaint of Zakia Jaffery, widow of former Congress MP Eshan Jaffery, who was killed in Gulbarg society riots case of 2002 along with 69 others. The complaint also alleged that he had
instructed officers not to take action.
Social activist and a Modi baiter Teesta Setalvald said," Today is an important day for democracy and rule of law when a sitting chief minister has been forced to appear before an inquiry team after various attempts to block justice."
Gujarat government spokesman Jai Narayan Vyas dismissed suggestions of a setback to Modi following his appearance before SIT.
"We have always said that he will abide by rule of law but much hype is being made. There is no setback as far as BJP
government or Modi is concerned. Mr Modi is cooperating," he said.
Modi's appearance before SIT assumes significance as he is a serving chief minister who is being questioned before any
authority in connection with the 2002 riots.
Today's event was preceded by drama after Modi refused to appear on March 21 calling as false claim that the SIT had fixed that day for questioning him in connection with the 2002 riots.