NEW DELHI, APR 20,
The Gujarat High Court on April 20, 2018, upheld Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi’s life sentence, while commuting his sentence to 21 years in jail, and acquitted former Minister Dr. Maya Kodnani in the Naroda Patiya massacre case. It also upheld the conviction of 11 others by a special court.Dr. Kodnani’s personal assistant, Kirpal Singh Chabda, was also among the 16 acquitted.
In August 2012, the special court had sentenced 32 people, including Dr. Kodnani and Bajrangi. Dr. Kodnani was sentenced to 28 years in jail. The court acquitted 29 others for want of evidence.
Ninety-seven people were killed in the massacre
The Gujarat High Court on October 20, 2016 upheld the conviction of 17 persons while acquitting 14 persons, who were previously convicted by a trial court, in the post-Godhra Sardarpura massacre case. Thirty-three persons of a minority community, comprising more than 20 women and children, were burnt to death by a rioting mob on March 1, 2002.
The Sardarpura massacre case was one of the nine cases probed by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team headed by the former CBI Director R.K. Raghavan.
In 2011, a special trial court convicted 31 persons for the brutal massacre and awarded life imprisonment to them. The convicts had challenged the trial court verdict before the High Court in 2012.The trial in this case, relating to massacres in the Naroda Gaam area of Ahmedabad, where 11 persons were killed, is still underway. This is the only case among those re-investigated by the Supreme Court-appointed SIT where the trial is underway.
The special designated court conducting the trial had summoned BJP president Amit Shah to depose before the court as a defence witness on September 18, 2017, to corroborate Dr. Kodnani’s statement. Backing her alibi, Mr. Shah told the court that he had “seen Mayaben Kodnani inside the Assembly at 8.30 a.m. and again at the Sola civil hospital around 11-11.15 a.m. and then they were both escorted out by the police.”The Gulberg Society massacre happened on February 28, 2002, when a mob attacked Gulberg Society, a Muslim neighbourhood in Chamanpura, Ahmedabad.Most of the houses were burnt, and no less than 35 victims, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, were burnt alive, while 31 others were presumed dead, bringing the total death count to 69.
On June 17, 2016, the special court in Ahmedabad pronounced life imprisonment to 11 convicts in this case, while 12 others were awarded seven years in prison. One person was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. BJP corporator Bipin Patel was among the 36 acquitted in the 2002 Gulbarg Society massacre case by the trial court.
The verdict in this case, in which the Sabarmati Express train in Godhra carrying kar sevaks was burnt on February 27, 2002, was delivered on March 1, 2011.
The trial was completed and 11 of the accused were sentenced to death while 20 others were awarded life imprisonment by the POTA court on March 1, 2011. Sixty-three accused were acquitted, including Maulvi Umarji, who was named as the main conspirator.
NEW DELHI, APR 20,