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Gujarat High Court acquits Maya Kodnani – the kingpin of Naroda Patya riots case
The judgement is out in another high profile case. The Gujarat High Court today acquitted Maya Kodnani in the 2002 Naroda Patiya riots case. Maya, a former BJP minister was one of the prime accused in the case. The court, however, upheld the life sentence of Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi, another accused in the same case.

The case was being heard by a division bench of Justices Harsha Devani and AS Supehiya. The hearings had concluded in August last year and since then the court had reserved its judgement. 

The case was initially being heard by a special court which in 2012 had sentenced 32 people to life imprisonment and acquitted 29 others for lack of evidence. Kodnani and Bajrangi were among those 32. 

The court had given Kodnani 28 years of imprisonment and Bajrangi life imprisonment till death. The SIT that was investigating the case had appealed against the acquittal of the 29 and the convicts had appealed against the sentences awarded to them. Along with Kodnani, Ganpat Chhara and Haresh Chhara, two other accused in the case have been acquitted as well.  

In the Naroda Patiya riots, 97 people were killed, all of whom were Muslims. Of those who lost their lives were mainly women and children. The riots followed burning of coach S-6 of Sabarmati Express on 27 February 2002 in which 59 karsevaks were killed. The trail court had held that Kodnani was the master mind behind the violence in Naroda. Kodnani is currently out on bail.

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