Thursday, February 16, 2012


HC reserves order on Godhra convict’s petition

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat high court on Thursday reserved its order over an application by convict in Godhra carnage case demanding that additional evidence in form of the sting operation record should be allowed to be brought on record during the hearing of appeal.

Salim alias Salman Zarda, who has been awarded death sentence along with 10 others in the Godhra train burning incident, has sought examination of journalist Ashish Khaitan and urged HC to direct the CBI to furnish the documents establishing authenticity of the CD of the sting operation. CBI had conducted a probe in this case after the NHRC took suo motu cognizance of the expose in October 2007. Zarda has also sought the evidence to be taken on record for SIT’s negligence and indifference to probe the aspect deeper. When the accused sought examination of the journalist as defence witness, the special court rejected it in August 2010.

The court felt that it was a delay tactic on part of the undertrials. Designated judge P R Patel had also observed that the sting operation was not an admissible evidence and no right was given to mediaperson to interveiw any witness. Besides, SIT did not rely on Khaitan’s statement, who was among 268 witnesses SIT had chosen to drop, the trial court order read.

Zarda’s counsel contended before HC that the sting operation has been made an evidence in cases like Gulbarg Society and Naroda Patia massacres. A bench of Justice Jayant Patel and Justice Paresh Upadhyay kept its decision reserved. TNN


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