2002 Naroda Patiya Case: Gujarat HC Acquits Maya Kodnani, Upholds Babu Bajrangi's Conviction

| April 20 , 2018 , 12:55 IST

The Gujarat High Court on Friday acquitted former BJP minister Maya Kodnani in the 2002 Naroda Patiya case and upheld the conviction of former Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi who was sentenced to life imprisonment with a condition of remission in the 2002 Naroda Patiya case.

Kodnani, who was one of the 32 people convicted in the Naroda Patiya case in which 97 Muslims died but was on bail, had moved the court challenging the verdict. Meanwhile, the Special Investigation Team had contested the condition of remission that had been given to Bajrangi in his life sentencing.

In her appeal, Kodnani claimed that she was 30 kms away from the site of the massacre when the riots broke out at Naroda Patiya. In comparison, the Bajrangi at the time of his arrest had openly admitted to killing Muslims in the riots.

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A total of 97 people had been killed on February 28, 2002, in Ahmedabad's Naroda Patiya area in one of the worst incidents of the 2002 Gujarat riots. The massacre took place barely 2 days after 57 karsevaks returning from Ayodhya on the Sabarmati Express were killed at Godhra on February 26 due to a fire.

In connection with the Naroda Patiya deaths, the 52-year-old Kodnani who was the MLA of the district in 2002, was charged with offences including murder, attempt to murder, rioting and criminal conspiracy. Despite the charges, she was made a junior minister in the then-Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's government in 2007.

Kodnani was convicted in 2012 and sentenced to 28 years in jail and is currently out on bail.

A total of 82 people are facing trial in the Naroda Patiya case, and 187 prosecution witnesses and 57 defence witnesses have been examined in the case so far.