Health Care

Gujarat Riots Case: High Court Acquits Former BJP Minister Maya Kodnani

Gujarat Riots Case: High Court Acquits Former BJP Minister Maya Kodnani

The HC upheld the conviction of 12 of 29 people pronounced guilty on various charges by the trial court and acquitted the 17 others, including Kodnani. It upheld conviction of 13 persons including former Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi, and convicted another three accused, earlier acquitted by the trial court.

Another high-profile accused, former Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi, was given life imprisonment till death.

Talking to media persons the lawyer of victims Samshad Pathan said his clients were not completely satisfied with the judgment, especially acquittal of Kodnani and they would approach the Supreme Court against the acquittal and reduction in sentence of those who found guilty.

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The accused had challenged the Special Investigation Team (SIT) court's order which had sentenced 32 people, including Kodnani and acquitted 29 others.

The killings at Naroda Patiya area of Ahmedabad on 28 February, 2002 are one of the worst massacres of the 2002 post-Godhra riots.

At least 97 Muslims were massacred at Naroda Patiya following the burning of S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express at Godhra station on February 27, 2002 in which 58 Hindu kar sewaks were charred to death. Kodnani, a former minister and a gynaecologist, had remained cut off from politics even after she got bail.

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The bench said witnesses presented contradictory versions about Kodnani's actions and movements, and no police witness named her in the offence. Following the sentencing, all the convicts in the Naroda Patiya riot case had appealed against their conviction in the High Court.

Apart from Kodnani, 31 others were sentenced in August 2012.

Twenty-nine others were acquitted in the case. Besides Babu Bajrangi, Prakash Rathod and Suresh Chara alias Suresh Langda have been convicted under the IPC 120 (B) as key conspirators.

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The official SIT statement said: "Dr Maya Kodnani, the MLA of the said area, after completing the mourn meeting in the Vidhan Sabha came near Noorani Masjid and as per the evidence on record she made some speech and said "kill Muslims, destroy the property of Muslims". Patel indicated that with her acquittal party would like to give her some active role if she would be willing to do so.