Police nab absconder in 2002 Gulberg Society killing after 15 years

Ahmedabad Crime Branch on Wednesday arrested an accused in 2002 Gulberg Society massacre case after he was absconding for about 15 years.

The accused, Ashish Pandey, one of the five absconding in the case, was arrested from Aslali locality on a tip off. Pandey had been absconding after being named in the FIR. A resident of Naroda locality, Pandey had been on the run, living in different cities to evade arrest, the police said.

A mob had attacked a pre-dominantly Muslim colony - Gulberg Society - in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002. As many as 69 people, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, were killed in the attack. The incident was recorded as one of the most violent during the communal conflagration witnessed by the state post Godhra train burning a day earlier.

A special court had in June 2016 convicted 24 people in the Gulberg case, awarding life imprisonment to 11, 10-year term to one of the accused, seven-year jail term for 12 and acquitting 36 others. Five of the accused were declared absconding. With the arrest of Pandey, four more accused still remain at large.

Pandey has been handed over to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that probed the case and is expected to be produced before the court on Thursday.

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