The Bilkis Bano gang-rape case, the judgement of which was delivered in Mumbai on Friday, was unique as the conviction of the 12 accused was based solely on the victim's deposition, CBI's counsel in the case said.
A special court in Mumbai convicted 12 persons, including a policeman, in the 2002 post-Godhra case and acquitted seven others. CBI Special Public Prosecutor Ramesh Shah told PTI that the court depended solely on one witness' deposition, Bilkis Bano, who is also the victim, while deciding the case.
The case was shifted from a court in Ahmedabad to Mumbai in 2003 on a directive by Supreme Court, which also asked the CBI to re-investigate the matter. "The court has also convicted a police constable who had recorded the FIR in the case," Shah added.
He said he would be going to Mumbai on Monday. A decision whether to contest the acquittal of the seven accused would be taken after the agency receives the high court judgement's copy.
Gagan Sethi, Director of Jan Vikas, an NGO that helped Bilkis in her legal fight, said the victim's determination to seek justice was the reason behind the conviction. "To get conviction in a gang-rape case during the riots is rare in this country," he said.
The accused had allegedly attacked 17 members from the minority community near Chaparwad village in Dahod district in March 2002. The attack had resulted in the death of eight persons while six others went missing. Bilkis, who was six months pregnant, was gang-raped. She and two children were the only survivors of the attack.