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'I will ensure that every riot witness comes forward'

By Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore
May 01, 2009 19:09 IST
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The Supreme Court's verdict to try the Gujarat riots case in the state on a day-to-day basis may ensure that there is some finality in the case.

While issuing the directions, a division bench of the court, which took into consideration the report filed by the chairman of the Special Investigation Team and former Central Bureau of Investigation director R K Raghavan, also said it would be open for the SIT chairman to seek change of public prosecutors if any deficiency was found during the trial.

Raghavan, who is currently in Bengaluru, told's Vicky Nanjappa that he is happy that the Supreme Court has imposed confidence in him and his team. He said his main job would be to focus on providing relief to the victims.

What is your reaction to the Supreme Court verdict?

I am extremely happy that the Supreme Court has imposed confidence in me and my team. Now I can contribute to the relief of the victims.

The Supreme Court says the SIT can seek change of public prosecutors. What do you have to say about that?

The verdict only shows the Supreme Court's sensitivity to the case of the prosecution. If the prosecutors do not play a proper role during the trial, the SIT can point out what is wrong.

There have been certain instances where prosecutors have played politics. It is in such cases that we come in and fight on behalf of the victims who are crying for justice.

A lot of time has gone by since this case commenced. Do you wish to fix any time frame to complete this case?

I cannot impose a time-frame. I will ensure that the proceedings are not halted at any cost on frivolous grounds. This can be possible with the cooperation of both the SIT and the state government.

The problem in this case is the safety of the victims. What will you do to ensure that victims and witnesses are safe?

No witness should feel unsafe and I will ensure that all of them are safe. It is a challenge and once I am back in Ahmedabad I will discuss these aspects with my team.

The Supreme Court had said Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's role ought to be probed based on one petition. There are several affidavits which do not implicate Mr Modi. What new angle remains where probing Mr Modi is concerned?

I cannot say anything on this as yet. I will see the order and the petition which has been filed in this regard and then take a decision. I will surely look into it and I should say that this has to be handled with great care.

There has been so much politics involved in this case.

While investigating, I don't take extraneous factors into account. I will only go by what witnesses have to say. Several people have spoken to both my officers and me. However, I will go by the depositions. I am not concerned with the politics of the case.

What difficulties have arisen during the investigation of this case?

The case has taken a lot of time. Maybe if I had got this case earlier, I would have done better. My job now is to impose confidence in the victims. I must add here that there have been no instances of threat. I will ensure that every witness comes forward.

How helpful has the state government been in this entire process?

The state has been cooperative and I am sure that when the case commences the cooperation will strengthen. Everyone is keen that the case should succeed and the Special Investigation Team will be a model in this case.

The Supreme Court is sensitive to this case, what more do we need?

Many NGOs (Non Government Organisations) have been involved in this case. What are your views about these NGOs?

Some are good and some are bad. Some play a positive role while some have certain angles in mind. However, I have to go about my job and I don't care about all these things.

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Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore