2002 Gujarat Riots Case: High Court Acquits Former BJP Minister Maya Kodnani


The Gujarat High Court on Friday acquitted former Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) Minister Maya Kodnani while upholding the conviction of Bajrang Dal activist Babu Bajrangi in the 2002 Gujarat riots case.

Out of the 32 convicts in the case, Gujarat High Court acquitted 17 people including Maya Kodnani; conviction of 12 was upheld, verdict on two others awaited, and one of the accused is dead. The High Court rejected the appeal of Naroda Patiya riot victims seeking compensation.

Kodnani was convicted and sentenced to 28 years in jail in 2012 by a trial court for inciting a mob post the Godhra train carnage in 2002 during which 96 people were killed.The court found Babubhai Patel alias Babu Bajrangi guilty and upheld his conviction.

52-year-old Kodnani was charged with offences including murder, attempt to murder, rioting and criminal conspiracy in the Naroda Gam case.

Naroda Gam was one of the nine major 2002 communal riots cases investigated by a Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT).

Eleven Muslims were killed in the Naroda Gam area on February 28, 2002, a day after 59 kar sevaks returning to Gujarat from Ayodhya died in a fire inside a 3-tier coach of the Sabarmati Express train at Godhra railway station. A total of 82 people are facing trial in the case.

The riots had started in Naroda Gam area on the morning of February 28 and continued till late in the afternoon.

Kodnani held Women and Child Development portfolio in the Gujarat government led by then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

(With Agency inputs)