Kodnani, 17 others cleared in Naroda Patia massacre case

Team SoOLEGAL 21 Apr 2018 11:57pm

Kodnani, 17 others cleared in Naroda Patia massacre case

Ahemdabad : Division bench of the Gujarat high court upheld the appeal filed by prime accused Maya Kodnani and 17 others against conviction by SC appointed SIT  for their role in the riots that led to killing of 93 people in Naroda Patia in Gujarat in 2002 .They were acquitted by the Gujarat High Court as the court said prosecution has failed to provide conclusive evidence about their role and the court gives  her and 17 others the “benefit of doubt”. Among those exonerated wereher personal assistant, Kirpalsingh Chhabda.

The division bench, comprising Justices H N Devani and A S Supehia, rejected the testimonies of 11 witnesses who had claimed seeing her at Naroda Patia during the riots saying they were contradictory in nature and did not establish her presence. However the court,upheld the convictions of 13 people, including Bajrang Dal’s Babu Bajrangi.

The SIT court in a decision delivered in August 2012, had called Kodnani as “a kingpin of riots” in Naroda area and she was sentenced to 28 years in jail in the riots that killed 97 people. Commenting on the high court verdict, Jyotsana Yagnik, the  former judge of the SIT court who had delivered verdict in the Naroda Patia trial in 2012, said, “Maya Kodnani has not been acquitted, she has been given the benefit of doubt.”

This exoneration however does not mean that 63-year-old former BJP minister's legal woes are over. She and Bajrangi now face trial in another 2002 carnage case — the Naroda Gam massacre in which 11 people were killed.

Following conviction in 2012, Kodnani was put up at Sabarmati central jail. There she reported ill and was shifted to hospital as she was found to be suffering from TB and depression. She was taken ill in jail and treated for tuberculosis as well as given shock therapy for severe depression.

Among other convicts, Harshad Mungda, was acquitted of murder but was convicted for rioting and arson for which he would serve 10 years in jail. The HC upheld Bajran Dal's Bajrangi’s conviction for criminal conspiracy but observed there was no substantial evidence to show he had rioted. The HC rejected private witnesses’ testimonies in Bajrangi’s case too but upheld his conviction on the basis of statements given by four policemen.

Tagged: Gujarat High Court   SC   SIT   Gujarat Riots  
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