When the special trial court convicted BJP’s senior MLA Maya Kodnani along with 31 others in the Naroda Patiya massacre case on Wednesday, she became the first woman politician to be convicted for criminal conspiracy and murder in communal riots case.
Kodnani was made an accused in the case only in 2009 when the Supreme Court-appointed SIT took over the probe.
The Ahmedabad police, which carried out the initial probe, did not touch her, despite eyewitnesses maintaining that she had led the mob that brutally killed 97 people during the 2002 riots.
The SIT headed by former CBI director, RK Raghavan, used the phone log CD prepared by IPS officer Rahul Sharma to chargesheet her, as the CD established Kodnani’s movements and who she talked to on that ill-fated day when half of the city was burning.
“Despite her denials, her mobile records clearly established that she was in Naroda Patiya area when the mob had encircled this Muslim-dominated locality. She talked to VHP’s Dr Jaidip Patel and other rioters,” a lawyer involved in the case said, adding the call record details and her movements were subsequently corroborated by as many as 11 eyewitnesses who deposed and gave detailed testimonies against her.
“Eleven eyewitnesses have deposed, giving their testimonies and assigning in detail the role played by Kodnani in inciting the mob to murder,” said rights activist Teesta Setalvad, who is fighting legal battles for justice to the victims and survivors of the 2002 riots.
Interestingly, the Modi government, which had made her a junior minister of women and child development following the 2007 assembly polls, last year served a chargesheet to Sharma for making public the call record CDs, which have now nailed Kodnani and will probably nail Patel, who is also a key accused in the Naroda gaon massacre case which is under trial.