SIT wants death for Kodnani
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the post-Godhra communal riots cases has approached the Supreme court seeking its permission to file a plea for enhancing the 28-year jail sentence of former minister Maya Kodnani to death sentence.†
The SIT’s plea filed recently comes after the Gujarat government had decided not to press for enhancement of the sentence, though it had given a go-ahead for filing of an appeal for death sentence for four others, including Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi.
The state government had earlier refused permission to the SIT to file an appeal in a higher court seeking death penalty for the former minister. This was decided on the basis of Advocate General Kamal Trivedi’s opinion that there was “no direct evidence” against her.
Kodnani and Bajrangi, along with 30 others, were convicted for life in the 2002 post-Godhra Naroda Patiya riot case, in which 96 people were killed.
The advocate general has opined that there was no direct evidence against Kodnani and she was convicted only on the basis of other evidence and hence the state government should not seek death penalty.
However, the state government has given a go-ahead to the SIT to seek death penalty for Bajrangi and four other accused who were sentenced for life by the designated court.
The case has seen several U-turns. Initially the state government had given permission to the SIT to seek death penalty for Kodnani, Bajrangi and eight others.
But in May, apparently under pressure from right wing forces, the state government withdrew the permission and now, except for Kodnani, it has given its consent to the SIT.
Also, 22 other convicts were awarded 24-year jail term, while 29 accused were acquitted in the case.
The SIT is expected to shortly file a plea before the high court, sources said.
DH News Service