After evading arrest for 23 days, Inspector VS Gohil on Wednesday surrendered before the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT). He was arrested for his alleged involvement in the Naroda Gam killings which resulted in the death of 11 people.
Gohil was in charge of the Naroda area where the most number of men, women and children were hacked and burnt to death (11 in Naroda Gam and 95 at Naroda Patiya) on February 28, 2002 — the day of the BJP-VHP sponsored Gujarat bandh to protest the death of 59 karsevaks in a fire onboard the Sabarmati Express in Godhra a day earlier.
On Tuesday, the SIT had moved the Ahmedabad metropolitan court seeking an arrest warrant against Gohil and the court was to decide on it on Thursday. But on Wednesday evenung, Gohil surfaced before magistrate G.M. Patel and offered to surrender before the court. But the court rejected his request and instead directed him to surrender before the SIT and asked the public prosecutor to inform the SIT.
A SIT team then went to court and arrested Gohil on charges of deriliction of duty and destruction of evidence. “He had been evading arrest for a long time and it seems that because we moved court for an arrest warrant against him, he surfaced today,” said a SIT official.
Earlier in the day, two local BJP leaders — councilor Bipin Patel and former councilor Chunilal Prajapati — also surrendered before the SIT for their alleged involvement in the Gulbarg Society massacre. Patel and Prajapati are accused of insighting the mob that killed 38 people in the area on the same day as the Naroda killings.