Court heat on Gujarat riots accused
The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday gave five days to riot accused minister of state for women and child development Dr Maya Kodnani and former VHP leader Dr Jaideep Patel to explain why their anticipatory bail should not be cancelled so that they can be arrested and investigated by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) for their alleged involvement in the Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gam killings.
Before admitting the appeal filed by the SIT, on behalf of the state government, against granting of anticipatory bail to the two Sangh leaders, Justice D.H. Waghela, asked one question of the prosecution: “How many people had died in the two incidents in which the leaders are accused?”
To this public prosecutor K.M. Panchal replied: “In the Naroda Patiya case 95 had been killed, three are missing and 38 were injured; while in the Naroda Gam case 11 had been killed and eight were injured.”
In its appeal filed before the court last week, the SIT had said that during its investigations “it had been revealed that Kodnani had fired from her pistol and it had been further revealed that she came in her car and had distributed swords to the mob (which attacked the two localities resulting into the deaths)”. The SIT made this disclosure on the basis of statements of riot victims.
Kodnani, a 53-year-old gynaecologist, faces arrest in both the cases of killings which resulted in deaths of 106 people, while Patel, a 55-year-old pathologist, faces arrest in the Naroda Gam killings. As reported first by HT, Kodnani and Patel were granted anticipatory bail on February 5 by the Ahmedabad sessions court after the SIT told the court that “it did not require the accused for further investigations”.