BJP candidate, brother involved in post-Godhra riots

BJP candidate, brother involved in post-Godhra riots

PTI file photo for representation.

The Lok Sabha candidate of BJP for Anand constituency, Mitesh Patel, and his brother Bhavesh are both facing charges of arson and rioting during the 2002 post-Godhra riots.

The brothers are among the 53 accused, who were tried by a sessions court in Anand and set free in 2010. The victims and the state government challenged the acquittal in the Gujarat High Court in 2011, where the case is pending.

Mitesh Patel, 54, mentioned this case in his affidavit filed on Tuesday for contesting from Anand Lok Sabha seat, which is considered a Congress bastion. Patel is contesting against former union minister Bharatsinh Solanki, also the ex-president of state Congress.

Patel has said in his affidavit that he was chargesheeted for rioting and arson following an FIR registered at Vasad police station. He was tried and acquitted by special fast track court in 2010. Patel is also convener of Gujarat Dal Utpadak Mandal.

When this paper contacted Patel, his associate who picked up the phone said, “Miteshbhai is attending a public rally”.

The appeal was admitted by the court the same year but hearing is yet to take place. Most of the accused belong to Patel community and are from affluent families. These accused, including BJP candidate Mitesh and his bother Bhavesh, have to seek prior permission from the high court for leaving the country.

In 2013 and 2014, the Patel brothers sought their passports, deposited in the court, for travelling to the United States and other parts. The brothers are in “Toor dal business in the name of Laxmi Protein Products.” Before going abroad they have to give undertaking in the court that they will return on time. 

The case

The incident was an aftermath of Godhra train carnage on February 27, 2002. Two days later, a mosque located at Vasad area was set on fire by a mob. The mob damaged the mosque and pelted stones at Muslim residents. The FIR was lodged by constable Hari Singh Noparam Jaat of State Reserve Police, Group No 10, Company No D.

During the trial, several eyewitnesses approached the high court seeking a fresh trial. They alleged that the police had not investigated  properly and statements had been recorded of the dead. The victims had alleged that they were robbed of their valuables in the incident but the police didn’t make attempt to recover the muddamal. The police also failed to assess the damage on the spot.