Monday, February 13, 2012

Sting op: HC reserves order on plea by Godhra convict

Express news service : Ahmedabad

The Gujarat High Court on Monday reserved its order on a petition by a convict in the 2002 Godhra train carnage case demanding to bring on record evidence related to a sting operation in which a key prosecution witness is purportedly seen stating he was bribed by the then investigation officer Noel Parmar to give a tutored statement.

J R Mothaliya, the investigation officer who is part of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), had deposed before the trial court saying the CD related to the sting operation was “inaudible”. The SIT, however, had produced the same CD before other courts trying cases related to Gulberg Society and Naroda Patiya massacres.

The petition before the HC was moved by Salim Zarda, one of the 11 convicts sentenced to death by a special trial court last year in the 2002 Godhra carnage case.

A bench comprising Justices Jayant Patel and Paresh Upadhyay reserved its order after Zarda’s lawyer Nitya Ramakrishnan and state government’s counsel Sushil Kumar concluded their arguments on Monday. Both Ramakrishnan and Kumar are advocates from the Supreme Court.

Ramakrishnan argued that the SIT has adopted a “pick and choose theory”, relying on the CD when it is against the accused and not doing so when it may exonerate the accused.

Sushil Kumar argued against the practice of sting operation being carried out by media houses, saying it cannot be allowed by the court.

However, Kumar was strongly opposed by Ramakrishnan, who argued that if relevant evidence, even if recorded illegally, is admissible as evidence.

Trial Court to visit Naroda Patiya site

The special trial court for the 2002 Naroda Patiya case is expected to visit the massacre site on January 30. The court of Jyotsana Yagnik on Monday ordered SIT officials and the prosecution to remain present there during their visit, special assistant public prosecutor in the case, Gaurang Vyas, said, adding the court kept it open for the defence advocates to remain present. Ninety-eight people were killed in the massacre on February 28, 2002 and 61 are undergoing trial in the case, including former minister, Dr Maya Kodnani.


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