Naroda Patiya case:Gujarat HC acquited Maya Kodnani, upheld Babu Bajrangi's conviction

Elias Hubbard
April 20, 2018

However, the court found Babubhai Patel alias Babu Bajrangi guilty and upheld his conviction.

The division bench comprising Justices Harsha Devani and A.S. Supehia had reserved its order in the case in August previous year.

In 2012, special judge Jyotsna Yagnik sentenced 32 persons including former minister Maya Kodnani and Bajrangi and acquitted 29 others. Kodnani was awarded a 28-year jail term and Bajrangi was awarded imprisonment till his last breath.

The court has, however, confirmed the life sentence of another high profile convict, Babu Bajrangi, a leader of the Bajrang Dal, an affiliate of BJP's ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS.

The SIT court had given seven accused enhanced life imprisonment of 21 years, which they will serve after undergoing 10 years' imprisonment under IPC section 326 (causing grievous hurt).

Dr. Kodnani's personal assistant, Kirpal Singh Chabda, was also among the 16 acquitted. A total of 97 people were killed in the attack on February 28 that year by rioters in Ahmedabad's Naroda Patiya area.

Naroda Patiya is a suburb of Ahmedabad where 100 Muslims were killed in the single bloodiest episode of the three-day genocidal violence against Muslims in February 2002. The Gujarat High Court is expected to deliver its judgment in all these appeals.

Kodnani is also accused in the Naroda Gram riots case in which 11 Muslims lost their lives.

With the final verdict on these appeals, the HC is likely to pass an order on Kodnani's request to call witnesses including BJP national chief Amit Shah in her defence.

Meanwhile, the state BJP president Jitu Vaghani has blamed the Congress party for arraigning Kodnani in the case.

The convicts in the case had challenged the lower court's order, while a Special Investigation Team had filed a plea against acquittals. He had said that he saw Kodnani in the Gujarat Assembly on the morning of the riots. Kodnani, a former minister and a gynaecologist, had remained cut off from politics even after she got bail.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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