Published: Fri, April 20, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Maya Kodnani acquitted by Gujarat High Court in 2002 Naroda Patiya case

Maya Kodnani acquitted by Gujarat High Court in 2002 Naroda Patiya case

In a crucial development, Maya Kodnani, one of the key accused in the 2002 Naroda Patiya case has been acquitted by the Gujarat High Court. Another high-profile accused, former Bajrang Dal leader Babubhai Patel aka Babu Bajrangi, was given life imprisonment till death with a condition of remission.

The court was hearing 11 appeal petitions moved by the convicts, the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) and the families of the victims of the riots, Indian Express reported.

A division bench of justices Harsha Devani and A.S. Supehiya while pronouncing the judgment on Friday said that charges against Kodnani could not be established.

A special fast track court had convicted Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi in 2012 for the massacre during the Gujarat riots that had killed 97 people - mostly women and children - in Naroda Gam in Ahmedabad.

Maya Kodnani walking out of the special court after being awarded 28 years of sentence.

The 30-plus convicts in the case had challenged the SIT court's 2012 order in the high court.

A total of 97 people had been killed on February 28, 2002, in Ahmedabad's Naroda Patiya area in one of the worst incidents of the 2002 Gujarat riots. It was due to pronounce a verdict on two others while a third was dead. The High Court held that none of the witnesses were reliable.

Moreover, the bench turned down an appeal filed by the victims for compensation.

Yagnik said that Maya Kodnani has not been acquitted but she has been given "benefit of doubt".

BJP President Amit Shah had testified as a defence witness last September, and said he saw Kodnani in Assembly on the day of the riots and then at the Shola Civil Hospital where bodies of those killed in Godhra had been brought. Ganpat and Haresh Chhara were also acquitted from the case. Kodnani, a former minister and a gynaecologist, had remained cut off from politics even after she got bail.

Bajrangi was the leader of Bajrang Dal, an affiliate of the BJP's ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

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