A special Gujarat court yesterday sentenced BJP legislator and former Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani to 28 years in jail for her involvement in the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Naroda Patiya where 97 Muslims were killed.
Former Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi, who was also convicted in the case, has been awarded life imprisonment till death, while the other 30 convicts were also awarded life terms.
Explaining the details of the sentence, Special Public Prosecutor Akhil Desai said that the life term awarded to Kodnani and other convicts apart from Bajrangi are under various sections of the Indian Penal Code. “Kodnani gets 10 years under Section 307 (attempt to murder) and 18 years under Section 302 (punishment for murder) of the Indian Penal Code,” Desai said.
He added that in India, someone convicted to a life sentence is entitled to remission after 14 years imprisonment. However, Kodnani will only be entitled to remission after 28 years, while Bajrangi will stay in jail till his death.
Of the 30 others convicted for the crime, seven will face a 10 plus 21 years of life imprisonment, while the rest will be entitled to 10 plus 14 years of imprisonment. Desai said that he respects the decision of the court not to give the death sentence adding that the court has taken cognisance of the suffering of the victims.
More than 10 years after a mob hacked and burnt to death 97 Muslims in Naroda Patiya on February 28, 2002, the special court had on Wednesday convicted 32 people, including Kodnani and Bajrangi, for the massacre. The special court in Ahmedabad also acquitted 29 people.
In 2009, the Supreme Court appointed a Special Investigation Team to probe the case as well as other cases relating to the Gujarat riots in which 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed.
Of the 64 people accused in the case, three died during trial. The remaining 61 accused were tried for murder, arson and rioting. Most of them were out on bail. A total of 327 witnesses and 2,500 documentary evidences were presented to court in the case.