Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) president Amit Shah on Monday told a special SIT court here that former Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani was present in the state assembly on the morning of the Naroda Gam riot on February 28, 2002.
He appeared in Ahmedabad court to depose as defence witness for former BJP minister Maya Kodnani in 2002 Naroda Gam riot case.
Maya Kodnani was not present in Naroda Gam, she was inside the state assembly at 8.30 am: Amit Shah in court— ANI (@ANI) September 18, 2017
The BJP president also told the court that he had met Kodnani at the Sola Civil Hospital that morning. The police, he said, escorted him and Kodnani to a safe place as agitated crowds had surrounded them at the hospital.
Shah added that he did not know where Kodnani went from the hospital after police escorted them some distance away from it.
Shah's deposition started before Judge P B Desai who had last Tuesday summoned him in response to an application filed by Kodnani.
The court had allowed Kodnani's plea to summon Shah and some others as witnesses in her defence in April this year.
On the day of the Naroda Gam riot near Ahmedabad, she said, she had visited the Sola Civil Hospital after attending the Legislative Assembly and was not present at the spot where the violence took place.
Shah, then an MLA, was also present at Sola Civil Hospital where bodies of the karsevaks killed in the Sabarmati Train burning incident were brought from Godhra. Shah's testimony would help prove her `alibi', that she was present elsewhere when the crime took place, she said.
Earlier, a special court had ordered Shah to appear as witness in the 'mass murder' case or assign his lawyer in the case.
Kodnani was a state minister for women and child development in the then BJP government in Gujarat led by Narendra Modi.
She has been found guilty of the massacre of nearly 100 Muslims in a neighborhood called Naroda Patiya, which is close to Naroda Gam where 11 Muslims were killed in the 2002 riots during a bandh call given to protest against the Godhra train burning incident.
Earlier, Kodnani had sought time from a special SIT court, saying that she was not able to find Shah's address where the court could issue summons to him.
In total 82 people are facing trial in the case. The apex court had in September last year given the special court six-month time to conclude trial.
With PTI Inputs