Naroda Patiya case: Maya Kodnani acquitted, Babu Bajrangi stays in

Kenny Tucker
April 21, 2018

Kodnani had been found guilty by the trial court and sentenced to 28 years' imprisonment.

The high court, however, upheld conviction of another key accused Babu Bajrangi, but reduced his sentence from imprisonment till death to 21 years of rigorous imprisonment.

The case was initially being heard by a special court which in 2012 had sentenced 32 people to life imprisonment and acquitted 29 others for lack of evidence. The family members of the victims had also appealed against the acquittal of 29 accused.

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

A Special Investigation Team had said that a day after the Godhra train burning incident, in which 57 Hindu activists killed got killed, Maya Kodnani incited mobs and was seen at the spot by 11 witnesses.

While finding Kodnani guilty, a designated special court held in 2012 that she was one of the "principal conspirators" in the Naroda Patiya violence.

Gujarat BJP president Jitu Vaghani welcomed the verdict given by Gujarat High Court in favour of former Minister Maya Kodnani.

An Indian court Friday acquitted an ally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was the most senior figure convicted over the deadly 2002 Gujarat religious riots.

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After the appeals were filed in the HC, this case became controversial after six judges - Justices Akil Kureshi, M R Shah, K S Jhaveri, G B Shah, Sonia Gokani and R H Shukla - recused themselves from hearing the appeals.

Government counsel Prashant Desai said: "It is clear from the Gujarat High Court's judgment that the court has gone on no witness theory".

Kodnani is now out on bail, while Bajrangi is still in jail.

"On Kodnani, there were contradictions in the witnesses' testimony against her presence at the crime scene". Bajrangi was handed out imprisonment till death.

BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel welcomed the judgement.

The high court said in its verdict that prosecution witnesses statements about Kodnani were contradictory, and the charge of conspiracy wasnt proved against her.

Firebrand Hindutva leader Pravin Togadia said the state government should not challenge the acquittal of Kodnani and others in the Supreme Court.

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