2002 Gulberg society massacre: Accused jumps bail, says will return on day of verdict

Ahmedabad: One of the key accused in the 2002 Gulberg Society massacre case, Kailash Dhobi, has jumped bail, with his lawyer claiming he has written to Gujarat High Court that he would appear when the trial court will pronounce its verdict.

The HC has already issued a non-bailable warrant against Dhobi after he failed to surrender before police on January 29.

Dhobi, lodged in jail since his arrest in 2002 on the charge of murder, was granted temporary bail by the HC on health grounds in December last year and also given two extensions.

Eight other accused in the case pertaining to the massacre of 69 people, including ex-MP Ehsan Jafri, on February 28, 2002 during the Post-Godhra riots, are still behind bars.

Dhobi was supposed to surrender before jail authorities on January 29 as his fresh plea for another extension was turned down by the High Court on January 25.

However, instead of turning himself in, Dhobi has reportedly jumped the bail and gone underground. "I have learnt that Dhobi has sent a letter to High Court claiming that the case against him has been dragging since long. He has reportedly said that though the trial proceedings are over in lower court, verdict is not coming," said Dhobi's lawyer Robin Mugera.

"I have learnt that Dhobi who was behind bars for almost 14 years further claimed in the letter that he will appear before the trial court on the day when it will pronounce the order (in the case)," he added.

Meanwhile, one of the lawyers assisting the Special Investigation Team (SIT) said the HC has already issued a non-bailable warrant against Dhobi for not reporting back to jail on January 29. The Gulberg Society case is one of the nine cases of the 2002 Gujarat riots that are probed by the Supreme Court-appointed SIT.

SIT has named 66 accused in the case. Apart from Dhobi, and eight others who are in jail, rest are out on bail. The trial in the case continued for around six years during which 338 witnesses have submitted their testimony.

Though the final hearing in the case was completed in September last year, the verdict is not pronounced yet by the trial court.

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