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Historic verdict in Maroda Patiya mass murder case welcomed
Narendra Ch | 31 Aug 2012

Teesta Setalvad said that the raw courage of the victim witnesses, especially women witnesses who deposed fearlessly while still residing in Naroda Patiya is a reflection of the confidence generated after the Supreme Court monitoring and the protection from Central Paramilitary forces provided by the Supreme Court.

HAILING THE historic verdict in the Naroda Patiya mass murder case delivered by Judge Jyotsnanbehn Yagnik. Special Sessions Judge in Ahmedabad today by which one senior politician and several conspirators and ring leaders have been convicted, Victim Survivors and the Citizens for Peace and Justice (CJP) welcomed the verdict. In all 32 persons have been convicted including former BJP MLA and minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet, Smt Maya Kodnani, Babu Bajrangi, Bipin Panchal, Ashok Sindhi and Kishan Korani (sitting corporator, accused No 20) have  been convicted. Twenty-nine of the accused were acquitted.

CPJ Secretary and Trustee Teesta Setalvad said that the raw courage of the victim witnesses, especially women witnesses who deposed fearlessly while still residing in Naroda Patiya is a reflection of the confidence generated after the Supreme Court monitoring and the protection from Central Paramilitary forces provided by the Supreme Court. CJP had applied to the apex court for protection of eye witnesses.

CJP through its legal team advocates Altaf Jidran and Raju Shaikh supervised by senior Adv Yusuf Shaikh provided legal aid to about 70 eyewitnesses since 2009. CJP would like to publicly acknowledge their contribution, also the seniors advocate MM Tirmizi (Gujarat High Court), Mihir Desai (Mumbai) and advocates Kamini Jaiswal (Supreme Court), Sanjay Parikh (Supreme Court), Aparna Bhat (Supreme Court) and Ramesh Pukhrambam (Supreme Court).

Eleven eyewitnesses have deposed in eye witnesses testimonies assigning in detail the role played by Smt Maya Kodnani, in inciting the mob to murder, fifteen witnesses deposed through eye witness testimonies against Babu Bajrangi, 48 witnesses testified to the crimes committed by Suresh @ Langda Chara including the offences of gender violence and rape. (Annexed are the list of witnesses with a brief of their testimonies). The CJP would like to state that it was the evidence through eye witness testimonies that enabled convictions. Corroborative evidence was provided through the phone call records provided by police officer Rahul Sharma and Tehelka’s Operation Kalank. Without eye witness testimonies whoever convictions could not have taken place.

Victim witnesses supported by CJP had also filed separate applications under Section 319 praying for police officer and then first PI KK Mysorewala to be arraigned as accused along with former Commissioner of Police PC Pandey and SRP official Dhantaniya. While the Judge rejected these applications, she has observed in the victim application for compensation for rape and gender violence that the application would be considered in the final judgement.

Eight charge sheets were filed in this historic case that lasted several months. It was one of the nine cases being supervised by the Supreme Court and was investigated by the SIT.