Naroda Patiya: 30 convicts, BJP MLA Maya Kodnani get life term

7:41 PM, Friday, August 31st, 2012

MLA Maya Kodnani, Babu BajrangiAhmedabad: A special court has awarded life imprisonment to BJP MLA Maya Kodnani, Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi and 29 other convicts in the 2002 post-Godhra Naroda Patiya riots case on Friday in Ahmedabad. While Maya Kodnani will stay in jail for 28 years, Babu Bajrangi has got life imprisonment till death.

Kodnani will serve 10 years in jail for her conviction under Sec 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means), after which her life imprisonment under Sec 302 and other sections, which is for 18 years, will begin.

Usually the jail sentences run concurrently but the special court of judge Jyotsana Yagnik on Friday, who pronounced the sentences in the Naroda Patiya massacre case, said that the terms would run one after the other.

“Court has passed judgement on 31 accused. Accused No. 18 Babu Bajrangi has been given imprisonment till he dies. Maya Kodnani has been given 18 years jail in one section and 10 years in another section. The court has said that till this 10 years imprisonment is not completed, life sentence will not be counted,” said counsel for victims Shamshad Pathan.

Out of the remaining 30 convicts, one is absconding, 22 will serve minimum 14 years in prison, seven will serve minimum 21 years.

The Narendra Modi government in Gujarat has also been asked to give Rs 5 lakh to a woman who was gangraped.
32 people were convicted by a special court in the Naroda Patiya riots case on Wednesday, in which, 97 people belonging to the minority community were killed.

Special court judge Jyotsana Yagnik had convicted them on charges of conspiracy and murder in the case, even as 29 other accused were acquitted.

Kodnani, a three-time MLA from Naroda area, who was considered to be close to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, is the first woman and first MLA to be convicted in a post-Godhra riots case.

Kodnani and Bajrangi were held guilty under sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 302 (murder) of India Penal Code (IPC) and the prosecution had sought the maximum punishment of death sentence for all the convicts.

On Wednesday, during the arguments on the quantum of sentence, lawyers of Kodnani and other convicts had sought leniency from the court.

Kodnani was the minister of women and child development in the Narendra Modi government but was forced to resign after a case was lodged against her in the Naroda Patiya massacre of 2002.

The Naroda Patiya massacre is the largest single case of mass murder during the 2002 Gujarat riots that broke out following the Sabarmati Express train carnage near Godhra station. The case has been probed by a Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigating Team (SIT).

As many as 327 witnesses, comprising 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 the Gujarat Police, whereas 24 more people were apprehended after the probe was handed over to the SIT in 2008. In all, 70 people were arrested in the case.

Six persons died before the charges could be framed and trial started, while two others identified as Mohan Nepali and Tejas Pathak jumped bail and are still absconding.

Among the 2002 riots cases probed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT), in which rulings have come, Naroda is the only case, where convicts (32) outnumber those acquitted (29).


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