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The Gujarat government Friday contended that neither can the Supreme Court halt trials of various post-Godhra riot cases and nor can the special probe panel appointed by it summon Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others accused in the murder of ex-Congress MP Ehasan Jafri.

The state government’s contentions came in an affidavit filed in the apex court’s registry late Friday evening in response to probe report of the Special Investigation Team, headed by former CBI director R.K. Raghavan.

The government also sought registration of criminal cases against civil rights activist Teesta Setalvad and others, alleging that they tutored witnesses, intimidated the SIT officials and indulged in activities with ulterior political motives.

The affidavit, filed by the state’s Additional Home Secretary Dhananjay Dwivedi, also questioned the role of various civil societies in interfering with criminal trials and wanted the court to ascertrain the extent to which they should be allowed to interfere with a criminal trial.

The court should issue notices to all states to examine the ‘extent of interference by such third parties’, the state government urged in its affidavit.

The state government has filed its affidavit in response to the apex court’s April 6 decision to consider the application made by Setalvad and others seeking stay on the trial and transferring the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Setalvad had alleged that the SIT was functioning in a biased manner.

Modi was questioned last month by the SIT on his alleged role in the 2002 killing of Jafri, who was burnt alive by a mob at Gulbarg Society, and his frantic calls for help to police and even the chief minister went unheeded.

‘I state and submit that though this court merely required SIT, in order dated April 27, 2009 ‘to look into the complaint’, the SIT started calling persons named therein and started recording their statements which is neither permissible in law nor contemplated in the aforesaid order,’ the affidavit said.

The apex court had asked the SIT on April 27, 2009, to ‘look into the complaint’ of the slain MP’s wife Zakia about the alleged role of Modi and 62 others in the killing of Ehsan Jafri.

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