A week after special court hearing the case of Naroda Payiya massacre during the 2002 Gujarat riots allowed former BJP minister Maya Kodnani to summon Amit Shah and 13 others as her defense witnesses, one of the victims wrote to the Gujarat High Court on Tuesday seeking replacement of the special SIT judge hearing the matter with an “impartial” one.
Sharif Malek, whose house was looted and relatives killed on 28 February 2002 during the Naroda Gam massacre, also demanded cancellation of bail to Naroda Patiya convict and former BJP MLA Maya Kodnani, who is an accused in this case also.
Malek is also a witness in the Naroda Gam massacre case. In his letter to the high court, he sought cancellation of the bails to Kodnani and others facing trial in the Naroda Gam case.
Malek said after the judge recently allowed Kodnanis plea to summon BJP national president Amit Shah and 13 others, the families of victims and witnesses like him suspect that the proceedings are being delayed deliberately.
He alleged the SIT court has also not followed the Supreme Courts September 9 order to conclude the trial in the case in six months.
We, the victims and witnesses of the Naroda Gam case request for cancellation of bail given to Kodnani, sentenced to 28-year in jail following her conviction in the Naroda Patiya case, on the basis of fabricated health certificate. We also request the cancellation of bail of all the other accused in the Naroda Gam case, appointment of an impartial judge and shifting of the case to another state, as also initiating independent judicial inquiry into itSharif Malek, Naroda Victim
“Special Judge P B Desai is the same who rejected conspiracy angle in Gulberg Society case, and we fear this judge can do the same in this case as well. Kindly replace him with an impartial judge” he added.
The Naroda Patiya massacre was one of the nine major riot cases from Gujarat investigated by a special investigation team. As many as 97 Muslims including 36 women, 35 children and 26 men were killed at Naroda. Trial court had convicted 32 people for the killings.
A total of 82 persons are facing trial in the case. The Supreme Court had in September last year given the special court six months time to conclude the trial.
Kodnani was a state minister for women and child development in former Chief Minister Narendra Modis government. She was sentenced to 28 years in jail and is out on bail at present. She wants to prove that she was not present at the scene of crime.