Need Time to Contact Amit Shah to Testify in Gujarat Riot Case, Says Maya Kodnani

Kodnani says she was with Shah when the riots took place, so he is crucial to proving her alibi.

Maya Kodnani

Former BJP leader Maya Kodnani. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Former BJP leader Maya Kodnani, convicted of organising the biggest massacre in the 2002 Gujarat riots and out on bail, has been told she has till Friday, September 8, to get BJP president Amit Shah to testify her alibi.

On Monday, she told the special trial court hearing the case, that she would need more time to “contact” Shah, according to the Indian Express. Her application to the court said that Shah was not “reachable” because he is busy and “it is difficult to decide as to which address the summons be served to him.”

Shah is the last listed defence witness in her trial. All others have been cross-examined, reported NDTV.

Twelve people, including her husband Surendra Kodnani, deputy mayor and BJP corporator Dinesh Makwana and former BJP MLA Amrish Govindbhai Patel, have testified in her favour so far, the Indian Express reported.

Kodnani was convicted of murder and sentenced to 28 years in prison for the role she played in the Naroda Patiya riots in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002, where 100 Muslims were killed in the single bloodiest incident of the Gujarat riots. Kodnani is also accused of murder in the riots that took place in neighbouring Naroda Gram on the same day, where 11 Muslims were killed – and it is in this case that she wants Shah to testify for her. She had been granted bail in 2014. Yesterday the Supreme Court said that the trial had to be completed in four months.

Kodnani says she was with Shah when the riots took place 10 kms from Ahmedabad, so he is crucial to proving her alibi. She was allowed to summon Shah as a witness in April this year. However, sources in the BJP say it is highly unlikely that Shah will appear as a witness on her behalf, according to NDTV.

Shah and Kodnani were both legislators at the time. Kodnani was a state minister and is the most high-profile leader convicted in the riots. Following the riots, Narendra Modi, who was chief minister of Gujarat at that time, made her minister for woman and child development.

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  • Anjan Basu

    Even if Modi and Shah have managed to elude justice in the Gujarat pogroms, the whole world knows they have blood on their hands, as has Maya Kodnani. But if the lady still believes her old friends will come to her rescue, she is deluding herself. Master manipulators do not worry about others unless such worrying furthers their own cause. In this case, why should Shah own up to Maya’s friendship now that she is a convict and Shah is as free as the bird in the sky?