West Yorkshire-based Imran Dawood, 18, who was on his maiden visit to India along with his three uncles, had toured Rajasthan and Agra and was returning to their native place in Sabarkantha district, north Gujarat, on February 28, 2002.
A mob stopped their Tata Sumo on National Highway 8. On finding that Muslims were travelling in the car, they torched it, leaving two uncles and their local driver dead. The third uncle’s body could not be traced and was declared dead after seven years. All except the driver were UK nationals.
Imran, who was seriously injured, was rescued by the police, which reached on the spot two hours after the incident. After lodging the FIR and getting treatment, he was flown black to the UK.
Besides a police complaint for murder, the relatives of the deceased also filed a civil suit, seeking compensation for the killings. There were three eyewitnesses, all of whom had turned hostile in 2009 during their deposition before the trial court in Himatnagar, where the trial is under way.
During their statements recorded at the time of lodging the FIR, they had named six persons who are being tried in the court of judge Geeta Gopi.
In July 2011, the trial court had allowed the Imran’s plea, seeking an examination of two former officials of the British high commission in India.
Ian Reakes, an officer of the British High Commissioner’s office, had visited Gujarat regarding the recovery of bones and ashes related to the case.
The court had scheduled the recording of the deposition of Reakes and Howard Parkinson, another diplomat, on February 4, 2012, through video-conferencing. It has now been rescheduled on February 18.