Ahmedabad court to pronounce verdict in Godhra riots case

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

AHMEDABAD - A special court in Ahmedabad will on Tuesday deliver its verdict against 94 accused in the 2002 Godhra communal riots case.

The judgement in the sensitive case will be pronounced by designated Judge P R Patel, who had completed hearing arguments of the prosecution and defence in September last year.

The Supreme Court had on October 26 last year vacated its stay order in the 2002 Godhra communal riots case, thereby paving way for the trial court to pronounce its verdict.

The apex court, however, said the trial court shall not pronounce its verdict in the case relating to the killing of former Congress MP Ehsan Jaffrey in which the Special Investigation Team (SIT) has questioned Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

The judgement was passed by a three-judge special bench of Justices D K Jain, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam, who passed the order while vacating its May 6 stay on pronouncement of judgement.

The three-judge special bench said that the court can proceed with the trial in Jaffrey case, as the SIT is still in the process of examining certain witnesses.

The court had on May 6 last year stayed the pronouncement of judgement in the Gujarat riots cases following allegations of botched up investigation and demand for re-constitution of SIT that had been subsequently effected pursuant to the bench”"”s earlier direction.

Earlier on April 27, 2010, the apex court had asked the SIT, headed by former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director RK Raghavan, to probe the role of 64 people, including that of Gujarat Chief Minister Modi in the post-Godhra riots cases.

The court directive came in response to a petition filed by Zakia Jaffrey, whose husband Ehsan Jaffrey, ex-Congress MP, was killed during the Gulburg society riots along with 39 others.

In her complaint Zakia Jaffrey alleged that Modi, his cabinet colleagues, police officials and senior bureaucrats aided and abetted the riots.

The SIT has so far questioned Modi, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Praveen Togadia and various police officers and examined records of bureaucrats and top police officials in the list of 63 accused in Jafri”"”s complaint.

Attacks by Hindu mobs began after suspected Muslim attackers torched the Sabarmati Express, carrying Hindu pilgrims on February 27, 2002, killing 59 people near the Godhra Railway Station.

The Hindu-Muslim clashes in Gujarat killed more than 2,500 people, mostly Muslims, displaced some 200,000 and orphaned about 400 children. (ANI)

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