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Gujarat Riots: Maya Kodnani, Babu Bajrangi Get Life Terms
Naroda Patia massacre catches up

Source: The Sangai Express / Agencies

Ahmedabad, August 31 2012: A Special Investigation Team (SIT) court has awarded life term to BJP leader and former Minister Mayaben Kodnani and Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi in the Naroda Patia massacre case.

The sitting Naroda MLA Mayaben Kodnani was sentenced to 18 year of imprisonment for criminal conspiracy and murder, while Babu Bajrangi was sentenced for life imprisonment till death.

The court also sentenced Mayaben to 10 year imprisonment for arson.

The court observed that this imprisonment of 10 years will not run concurrent with the main sentence of 18 years, which means Kodnani will spend 28 years in prison.

The court in the order pronounced on Friday sentenced 22 accused to life imprisonment (14 years).

Other seven were sentenced to imprisonment for 21 years.

The quantum of punishment was not announced for one of the accused Suresh alias Shahjad Nekalkar as he was not present in the court.

The court also also sentenced the 31 accused to 10 years imprisonment for arson.

The sentence would run prior to the main sentence and would not be concurrent.

The court observed that Maya Kodnani was the kingpin in the case and she along with Babu Bajrani were the key conspirators.

The other seven who were sentenced 21 years of imprisonment included Naresh Chara, Morli Sindhi, Haresh Rathod, Suresh Langado, Premchand Tiwari, Manojbhai Sindhi Kukrani and Bipin Panchal.

The special court also observed that the incident was a black chapter in the secular democratic history of India.

On Wednesday, the court had convicted 32 people and acquitted 29 in the biggest post-Godhra killings.

On February 28, 2002, 97 persons were killed in Naroda.

As many as 94 bodies were found, of which 84 were identified.

Three people are still missing.

Former Gujarat minister Kodnani and Bajrangi have been convicted under sections 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) and 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code, amongst others.

Special public prosecutor sought capital punishment for the convicts, during the hearing for quantum of punishment.

He argued that as the court had upheld the aspect of murder and criminal conspiracy, this was a fit case to be termed as "rarest of rare" and court should award capital punishment to the convicts.

If the court wanted to be lenient then at least it should award minimum of 20 years of imprisonment to each of the convicts, he argued.

Opposing his contention, defense advocate Niranjan Tikani appealed to the court to show leniency towards the convicts, keeping in mind their family background and financial condition.


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