Saturday, November 24, 2012


Gujarat EDN
AM 30AUG2012

Death penalty sought for convicts
In historic judgment, 32 held guilty of criminal conspiracy, murder. Kodnani is first woman to be convicted in a post-Godhra riot case
Ahmedabad Mirror Bureau 

Thirty-two persons including former minister of state for women and child welfare and Naroda MLA Maya Kodnani and former Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi were convicted in the Naroda Patiya massacre by a designated court on Wednesday. Twenty-nine others,
includingsistersGitaandRamila Rathod, were given the benefit of doubt and acquitted.
    Designated judge Jyotsna Yagnik while giving the historic decision after a period of 10 years, convicted the accused under 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 302 (murder) of the IPC. It is for the first time that a BJP minister has been convicted in the post-Godhra communal riots case in a major setback to the party in the state.
    The others who were convicted are Naresh Chhara, Morli Sindhi, Ganpat Deedawala, Vikram Rathod, Haresh Rathod, Kisan Korani, Prakash Rathod, Suresh alias Langdo Deedawala, Premchand Tiwari, Suresh alias Shaizad Netalkar, Nawab alisa Kalu Bhaiyo Rathod, Manu Maroda, Shashikant Marathi, Babu Salat, Laxman Thakor, Ashok Sindhi, Harshad Parmar, Mukesh Rathod, Manoj Kukrani, Hiraji Marwadi, Bipin Panchal, Ashok Korani, Vijay Parmar, Ramesh Chhara, Sachin Modi, Vishal Sonar, Dinesh Barange, Santosh Mulchandani, Pintoo Jadeja and Kirpalsinh Chabda
    They were held guilty under IPC sections 120B for criminal conspiracy and 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 323, 324, 325, 326, 295, 427, 435, 436, and 440. They were also convicted under IPC sections 153, 153A, , 143, 144, 147 and 148.
    Suresh alias Richard alias Suresh Langdo Deedawala (Chhara) along with Mukesh Rathod and Manu Maroda were convicted for rape besides other sections.
    The court will pronounce the sentence on August 31 whereas those given the benefit of doubt were released after they assured the court of producing guarantors who will present them in court whenever there is an appeal against the order.
    The designated court had rejected the application to include the then police commissioner PC Pande, inspector KK Mysorewala and inspector P B Gondia as accused in the case.
    A total of 327 witnesses including eye witnesses, victims, doctors, police personnel, government officials, forensic experts and journalists including Ashish Khetan, who conducted a TV sting operation on the accused, were examined by the court. Initially, 46 people were arrested by police, whereas 24 more people were apprehended after probe was handed over to the Supreme Court-appointed SIT in 2008. In all, 70 people were arrested in the case. Six persons died before the charges could be framed and trial started. One of the 62 accused, Suresh alias Shaizad Netalkar, is absconding since the past two months while one Vijay alias Munna Shetty died during trial. Netalkar has been convicted and the court asked SIT to produce a status report on him and issued a non-bailable warrantagainsthim.
Ofthe61accused, 12 were already in Sabarmati Central Jail whereas 49 were out on bail. Of the 12 in jail, seven were acquitted for lack of evidence whereas five were convicted. Of 49 out on bail, 27 were convicted whereas 22, including advocate Raju Chaumal, were acquitted.
    All 60 accused were produced before court at 11 am. The accused were left speechless when the judge announced the verdict as soon as proceedingsbegan.
Severalofthemwerein tears and made frantic pleas that they were innocent with children and were the only supporters of their family.
    Special public prosecutor Akhil Desai and Gaurang Vyas represented that 97 men, women and children were burnt alive making it the rarest of rare case and demanded that those convicted should be hanged until death while in cases where convicts are given life imprisonment, the sentence should not be limited to 14 or 20 years but for life. Of the 97 bodies, three of them were so charred that the victims could not be identified. The public prosecutorssaidcriminalconspir
acyinthecase has been proved and acts of accused were heinous and no sympathy should be shown for them.
August 29 has been an important day for the judiciary. Incidently, last year on the same day, Gujarat High Court had acquitted all 12 accused, including main accused Asgar Ali, in the Haren Pandya murder case. The court in its judgment had stated that the Central Bureau of Investigation had botched up the investigation leading to enormous waste of time. Pandya, a former minister of state for home in the BJP government and once close to CM Narendra Modi, was shot dead on March 26, 2003, when he was out for a morning walk. According to CBI, Pandya was murdered to avenge the 2002 communal riots in the state.