Naroda Case: Quantum of Sentence on Aug 31

Naroda Case: Quantum of Sentence on Aug 31
The special trial court will pronounce the quantum of punishment for 32 convicts in the 2002 post-Godhra Naroda Patiya riots case on August 31.

After hearing all the sides, special court judge Jyotsna Yagnik reserved the order on quantum of punishment for August 31, a lawyer said.

The prosecution has demanded death sentence for all the accused convicted in the Naroda Patiya case.

Earlier in the day, the court convicted 32, including former Gujarat minister and BJP MLA Maya Kodnani and Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi, and acquitted 29 others.

Former Gujarat Minister Kodnani and Bajrangi have been convicted under sections 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) and 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code, amongst others.

Special public prosecutor Akhil Desai sought capital punishment for the convicts, during the hearing for quantum of punishment.

Desai argued that as this court has upheld the aspect of murder and criminal conspiracy, this is a fit case to be termed as "rarest of rare" and court should award capital punishment to the convicts.

If the court wants to be lenient then at least it should award minimum of 20 years of imprisonment to each of the convicts, he argued.

Opposing his contention, defense advocate Niranjan Tikani appealed to the court to show leniency towards the convicts, keeping in mind their family background and financial condition.

Tikani also opposed the demand of capital punishment for Kodnani and submitted that her husband has been operated upon recently and is not keeping good health, while her son is studying in the US, so the court should consider this aspect as well.

On February 28, 2002, when a bandh call was given by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a large crowd gathered in the Naroda Patiya area and attacked the people of minority community, killing 97 persons and injuring 33 others.

The trial in the case began in August 2009 and charges were framed against 62 accused. One of the accused, Vijay Shetty, died during the trial.

As many as 327 witnesses, including eye witnesses, victims, doctors, police personnel, government officials, forensic experts and journalists like Ashish Khetan, who conducted a TV sting operation on the accused, have been examined by the court.

Initially, after the incident, 46 persons were arrested by the Gujarat police. After the probe was handed over to the Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) in 2008, the agency arrested 24 more persons, taking total arrested in the case to 70.

Kodnani was arrested by the SIT when she was Minister of State for Women and Child Development in the Narendra Modi government in March 2009. She was an MLA at the time of the incident.
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