SC grants bail to convicts of 2002 Gujarat riots

SC grants bail to convicts 2002 Gujarat riots, asks them to do social service

Those were granted bail are Prahladbhai Jagabhai Patel, Parshottambhai alias Pashabhai Mohanbhai Patel in Sardarpura case in Anand

The HC had convicted 17 and acquitted 14 others in the 2002 case at Sardarpura where 33 people were burnt alive. (Credit: PTI Photo)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to 15 life term convicts in the 2002 post-Godhra riots at Ode and Sardarpura in Anand, where more than 50 people were burnt alive, but directed them not to enter Gujarat until their appeal was finally decided by the court.

The top court directed two batches of convicts to undertake some spiritual and social service during their stay at Indore and Jabalpur, respectively.

A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant took into consideration facts that the convicts have been held guilty on the basis of deposition by one or two eyewitnesses and secondly they had been out on parole, furlough and bail earlier for a period between 150 and 550 days, without any report of misconduct, criminal activity or violation of conditions. The court also noted that they had no criminal antecedents.

The convicts were represented by senior advocate P S Patwalia and advocate Astha Sharma and the Gujarat government's Solicitor General Tushar Mehta. Their counsel asked for keeping them in Maharashtra, a plea which was rejected by the court.

The HC had convicted 17 and acquitted 14 others in the 2002 case at Sardarpura where 33 people were burnt alive. Similarly, 14 people were convicted in a case at Ode in Anand related to the killing of 23 people.

Others who were ordered to be released are Vijaybhai Ravjibhai Patel, Jayendrabhai Satabhai Patel, Sureshbhai Bhailalbhai Patel, Dilipbhai Ranchhodbhai Patel, Dharmeshkumar Nathubhai Patel and Previnbhai Mangalbhai Patel, convicted in the case related to riots in Ode in Anand.

Dilipbhai Vinubhai Patel, Pareshbhai Ranchodbhai Patel, Arvindbhai Ravjibhai Patel, Hemantbhai Satabhai alias Gokalbhai Patel, Santhakumar Ranchhodbhai Patel, Vinubhai Shanabhai Patel, all convicted in Ode case, were directed to be released on bail. Another petitioner Vinubhai Bhikhubhai Patel, lodged in Vadodara jail was also released on bail by the top court.