Gulberg Society massacre: Court to pronounce verdict today
The Gulberg Society was attacked a day after Coach S-6 of the Sabarmati Express train was torched in Godhra on February 27, 2002.
Ahmedabad: An Ahmedabad special trial court is likely to pronounce its verdict on Thursday in the Gulberg Society attack case of 2002 Gujarat riots in which 69 people, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, were killed.
Special Court Judge PB Desai will deliver the judgement over eight months after the trial concluded on September 22, 2015.
The Supreme Court, which is monitoring the case, had directed the SIT court to give its verdict by May 31.
The Gulberg Society was attacked a day after Coach S-6 of the Sabarmati Express train was torched in Godhra on February 27, 2002 leaving 59 people dead.
A mob attacked residents of the Gulberg Society situated in Chamanpura area of Ahmedabad and burnt down most of the houses. Thirty nine people were burnt alive and others went missing, who were later presumed to be dead.
The Supreme Court had stayed the trial in major Gujarat cases related to post Godhra riots of 2002 on petitions filed by the National Human Rights Commission and the Citizens for Justice and Peace, who sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and transfer of the cases outside Gujarat.
A bench of the apex court had on March 26, 2008, directed the Gujarat government to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT), headed by RK Raghavan, a former head of CBI in the case. It reopened nine crucial riots cases, including that of Gulberg Society. The SIT had named 66 persons as accused in the case. Nine of them have been in jail for the last 14 years.
One of the accused, Bipin Patel, is a sitting BJP corporator from Asarva seat. He was also the corporator in 2002 when the massacre happened and won the election for fourth consecutive term last year.
Last week, the court had turned down pleas moved by two accused -- Narayan Tank and Babu Rathod -- to conduct narco analysis and brain mapping tests on them to prove their innocence. The court maintained that it was not required when the verdict was imminent.
During the trial, riots victim's lawyer had argued that the massacre was a pre-planned criminal conspiracy hatched by the accused to kill minority community members of the Gulberg Society.
The defence had refuted the conspiracy theory of prosecution and claimed that the mob resorted to violence only after slain Congress MP Eshan Jafri fired several rounds on them.
(With Agency inputs)