The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) will challenge before the Gujarat High Court the recent acquittal of all 67 accused in the 2002 Naroda Gam riot case by a special court.
On April 20, the Ahmedabad-based court of S K Baxi, a special judge for SIT cases, acquitted all 67 accused, including former Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani and ex-Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi, more than two decades after 11 Muslims were killed in Ahmedabad’s Naroda Gam area during post-Godhra riots.
“The SIT will definitely file an appeal in the Gujarat High Court against the lower court’s order in the Naroda Gam case. Since the copy of the SIT court’s judgement is awaited, a final call will be taken after studying the verdict,” a source in SIT said.
The Naroda Gam massacre was one of nine major communal riots cases probed by the SC-appointed SIT and heard by special courts in 2002.
In 2008, the SIT took up the investigation by the Gujarat Police and arrested more than 30 people. Aside from Kodnani (67) and Bajrangi, the special court acquitted former VHP leader Jaydeep Patel in the case.
There were 86 accused in the case, 18 of whom died during the trial, and one who was discharged earlier by the court under section 169 of the CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure) due to inadequate evidence against him. Notably, lawyers for the victims’ families have already stated that the special court’s ruling will be appealed in the High Court.
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