A special court hearing the 2002 Naroda Gam massacre case in Ahmedabad has allowed an application filed by former BJP MLA Maya Kodnani seeking to call BJP president Amit Shah and 13 others as defence witnesses.
Judge PB Desai said summons should be issued to these witnesses “at appropriate and relevant stage of trial”.
The Naroda Gam massacre was one of the nine major riot cases from Gujarat investigated by a special investigation team. Eleven Muslims were killed at Naroda Gam.
Kodnani, Kodnani later became state minister for women and child development during chief minister Narendra Modi’s government, was sentenced to 28 years in jail in the Naroda Patiya riot case She is presently out on bail. She had moved the application to summon these witnesses to prove that she was not present at the scene of crime.
Her application said she wanted Amit Shah’s examination to prove that she had met him in the assembly in Gandhinagar and then at Sola Civil hospital in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002, a day after the Godhra train burning incident which led to riots, as the bodies of Godhra train incident victims were brought there. Afterwards, she went to her nursing home, and then to the main civil hospital in Asarwa area of the city, Kodnani claimed.
The judge said “some witnesses can be dropped at a later stage if there is a possibility of repetition of their testimonies, but however, in absence of any objections (by prosecution) and while recognising the right of the accused to examine defence witnesses, I am of the opinion that the number of witnesses sought to be examined is neither unreasonable nor unjustified.”
The other witnesses she wants to summon include former BJP MLA Amrish Patel, then superintendent of civil hospital Dr Anil Chaddha, staff of her hospital and a man whose child was allegedly born at her hospital that day.