Shah appears as witness for Kodnani in Naroda riots case

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 19 Sep 2017 08:52:07



Tells court that he had met Kodnani in the Assembly and later at hospital. However, he did not know where she went to from hospital

Kodnani, who is out on bail, had sought Shah’s testimony to help prove her ‘alibi’ that she was present elsewhere when riots took place

BHARATIYA Janata Party President Amit Shah appeared before a special court here on Monday as a defence witness for ex-Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani, an accused in the 2002 Naroda Gam riots case, and said that he had met her in the State Assembly in Gandhinagar on the day the incident took place.

Shah told special court judge P B Desai that he had later on February 28, 2002 had met Kodnani at the Sola Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad, where bodies of 59 ‘karsevaks’ killed in the Sabarmati Express train fire a day earlier had been brought to.

The BJP chief, however, told the judge that he did not know where Kodnani went to from the hospital after the police escorted them for some distance away from it.
Both Shah and Kodnani were BJP MLAs in 2002.

Fifty-two-year-old Kodnani has been charged with offences including murder, attempt to murder, rioting and criminal conspiracy in the Naroda Gam case.
In 2012, she was convicted and sentenced to 28 years in jail in the Naroda Patiya riots case in which 96 people were killed during the riots. She is at present out on bail.
Naroda Gam was one of the nine major 2002 communal riots cases investigated by a Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT).

Eleven Muslims were killed in the Naroda Gam area on February 28, 2002, a day after 59 karsevaks returning to Gujarat from Ayodhya were killed in a fire inside a three-tier coach of the Sabarmati Express train near the Godhra railway station. A total of 82 people are facing trial in the case.

The riots had started in Naroda Gam area on the morning of February 28 and continued till late in the afternoon.
Kodnani had filed an application in the court seeking summoning of Shah as a defence witness to prove her ‘alibi’ — that she was present in the Assembly and later at the Sola Civil Hospital on the day of the riots and not at the Naroda Gam area.

Shah told the court that he had gone to the Assembly on February 28, 2002 to attend the session which started at 8.30 am, and Kodnani was present in the House. A resolution was passed in the Assembly condemning in the strongest possible terms the incident of burning of the S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express near the Godhra railway station a day before in which 59 karsevaks had died, he said.

Shah said he then went to the Sola hospital after receiving calls that bodies of the karsevaks had been brought to the hospital, where autopsies were also being conducted.
“As the Sola Civil Hospital is in my constituency, I reached there between 9.30 am to 9.45 am,” he submitted.
“Maya Kodnani met us at the Sola Civil Hospital,” he said.
The crowd there was very agitated due to the killing of the karsevaks and had surrounded the hospital, the BJP chief said.

“The police were escorting Mayaben out of the hospital when I first saw her at the hospital between 11.15 to 11.30 am,” he said.
“They also escorted me out of the hospital along with Mayaben for some distance away in their vehicle, and dropped me at Gota Cross Road, but she was still in the (police) jeep,” Shah said.
“After that I went to my home and I don’t know where she went to,” the BJP president said.