Communalism

Court Summons Amit Shah as Witness in 2002 Gujarat Riot Case

On a petition filed by Maya Kodnani, a special SIT judge summoned Shah to appear before the court on September 18.

Amit Shah. Credit: PTI

Amit Shah. Credit: PTI

Ahmedabad: A special SIT court hearing the 2002 Naroda Gram riot case today summoned BJP president Amit Shah to appear before it as a defence witness for former Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani, who is one of the prime accused.

On a petition filed by Kodnani, special SIT judge P. B. Desai summoned Shah to appear before the court on September 18.

The court said it will not re-issue the summons in case Shah fails to present himself on a given date.

Kodnani’s advocate Amit Patel submitted before the court the residential address of Shah in Thaltej area of Ahmedabad city, after which the court issued the summons to him on the same address.

Earlier, Kodnani had failed to give the address to which the summons to Shah were to be issued.

Her advocate had twice sought time for four days each to her to find out and submit the address on which the summons could be issued to Shah.

The court had in April allowed Kodnani’s plea to have the summons issued to Shah and some others as witnesses in her defence.

At the subsequent hearings, the court had asked Kodnani to tell it whether Shah will depose as her witness.

Kodnani, in her application to prove her innocence, said that on the day of incident she had visited Sola civil hospital after attending the state Legislative Assembly.

She claimed in the application that Shah, who was an MLA at that time, was also present at the Sola civil hospital, where bodies of ‘karsevaks’ killed in the Sabarmati train burning incident were brought from Godhra.

Kodnani said that Shah’s testimony will help prove her alibi.

Two weeks back, the Supreme Court had asked the SIT court to conclude the trial within four months.

A bench headed by then Chief Justice J. S. Khehar was informed that the trial was in progress and evidence of the defence witnesses was being recorded by a special court.

The top court had asked the lower court to complete the recording of evidence of the remaining defence witnesses in two months.

The massacre in Naroda Gram in Ahmedabad is one of the nine major 2002 communal riots cases which were investigated by the Special Investigation Team (SIT).

Eleven persons belonging to the minority community were killed in Naroda Gam in the 2002 riots, during a bandh called to protest the Godhra train burning incident.

A total of 82 persons are facing trial in the case.

Kodnani, who was then a minister in the Narendra Modi-led state government, has already been convicted and sentenced to 28 years in jail in the case of riot at Naroda Patiya where 97 people were massacred.