Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], Apr 20 (ANI): Gujarat High Court on Friday acquitted former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) minister Maya Kodnani in the 2002 Naroda Patiya riot case in which 97 Muslims were killed following the Godhra riots.
Kodnani was sentenced to 28 years of imprisonment.
However, the conviction of Bajrang Dal leader, Babu Bajrangi who had also moved the court challenging the previous ruling, was upheld. He was sentenced to life imprisonment till death.
Besides Kodnani, 16 others were also acquitted, while the conviction of 12 was upheld. The verdict on two others is awaited and one other accused is dead.
"All 12 convicts have been awarded 21 years of imprisonment without remission. 11 witnesses gave different statements on Maya Kodnani's presence at the location but there were contradictions," Special Public Prosecutor Prashant Desai told reporters.
In 2012, a special court for Special Investigation Team (SIT) cases had sentenced 32 people to life imprisonment, including Kodnani and Bajrangi. In the ruling, seven accused were given enhanced life imprisonment of 21 years and the remaining were given simple life imprisonment for 14 years.
All the convicts had appealed against their conviction in the High Court.
A division bench of the court comprising justice Harsha Devani and justice A. S. Supehiya concluded the hearing and reserved the order in the case last August.
Around 58 people lost their lives when the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was allegedly torched at the Godhra Railway Station on February 27, 2002.
Following the incident, on February 28, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal declared Gujarat Bandh. A total of 97 people were killed by rioters in Ahmedabad's Naroda Patiya area on this day.(ANI)