BJP president Amit Shah arrived at the Ahmedabad City Civil and Session Court as a defence witness for former Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani, one of the prime accused in the Naroda Patiya case, media reports said on Monday. According to DNA, Shah was expected to reach the court at the old high court campus at 11 am to present himself as a witness.
Shah's deposition started before Judge PB Desai who had last Tuesday summoned him in response to an application filed by Kodnani, the prime accused in the 2002 Naroda Gam riot case.
The court had then said it will not re-issue the summons in case Shah fails to present himself.
Kodnani requesting Shah and others, including her nursing home and Sola civil hospital staff to be a witness is an attempt to prove she was present at spots such as the Gujarat Assembly, civil hospital, her home, and other places, but not Naroda Gam during the time of riots on 28 February, 2002, Hindustan Times reported.
Kodnani's advocate Amit Patel submitted on 12 September before the court the residential address of Shah in Thaltej area of Ahmedabad city, after which the court issued the summons to him on the same address.
Earlier, Kodnani had failed to give the address to which the summons to Shah were to be issued. Her advocate had twice sought time for four days each to her to find out and submit the address on which the summons could be issued to Shah.
The court had in April allowed Kodnani's plea to have the summons issued to Shah and some others as witnesses in her defence.
At the subsequent hearings, the court had asked Kodnani to tell it whether Shah will depose as her witness.
Kodnani, in her application to prove her innocence, said that on the day of incident she had visited Sola civil hospital after attending the state Legislative Assembly. She claimed in the application that Shah, who was an MLA at that time, was also present at the Sola civil hospital, where bodies of 'karsevaks' killed in the Sabarmati train burning incident were brought from Godhra.
Kodnani said that Shah's testimony will help prove her alibi.
Two weeks back, the Supreme Court had asked the SIT court to conclude the trial within four months.
A bench headed by then Chief Justice JS Khehar was informed that the trial was in progress and evidence of the defence witnesses was being recorded by a special court. The top court had asked the lower court to complete the recording of evidence of the remaining defence witnesses in two months.
The massacre in Naroda Gam in Ahmedabad is one of the nine major 2002 communal riots cases which were investigated by the Special Investigation Team (SIT).
Eleven persons belonging to the minority community were killed in Naroda Gam in the 2002 riots, during a bandh called to protest the Godhra train burning incident. A total of 82 persons are facing trial in the case.
Kodnani, who was then a minister in the Narendra Modi-led state government, has already been convicted and sentenced to 28 years in jail in the case of riot at Naroda Patiya where 97 people were massacred.
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Updated Date: Sep 18, 2017 12:47:41 IST