Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court has granted conditional bail to all 21 people who were convicted and sent to life term in a case relating to the 2002 Deepda Darwaza riots in which 11 persons of a family were killed.
A division bench of High Court Justice KS Jhaveri and Justice KJ Thakkar said state authorities or the Special Investigation Team (SIT) could move a plea for cancellation of bail to any of the accused if there was breach of any condition.
The case relates to the killing of 11 members of a family, including two children and a 65-year-old woman, on February 28, 2002 in Deepda Darwaza area of Visnagar town in Mehsana district of Gujarat after the Godhra train fire incident.
It was one of the nine cases probed by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT).
"Considering the pros and cons of the case in hand, we think it fit to suspend the sentence imposed upon the applicants pending their appeals and release them on bail on stringent conditions," the High Court said in its order, which was given on Saturday, but was released only today.
They will be released on bail after furnishing two solvent sureties of Rs 25,000 each and personal bonds of the same amount, the court said.
The seven stringent conditions put forward by the court include, not to take undue advantage of their liberty or abuse their liberty, not act in a manner injurious to the interest of the prosecution as well as maintain law and order.
They have also been asked to mark their presence before the nearest local police station on any day between the 1st and 10th of every month, not leave the Gujarat without prior intimation, furnish the address of their residence at the time of execution of the bond and they shall not change their residence without prior permission of the court as well as surrender their passports.
"Looking at the importance of the matter, the Sessions
Court is directed to expedite the preparation of papers at the earliest, not later than four months from the date of receipt of the writ of the order and as soon as the paper book is received, it shall be open to the respondent to move this Court for early hearing in the case," the court directed the Sessions Court.
On July 30, 2012, the trial court had awarded life imprisonment to 21 people, a one-year jail term to a former police officer, and acquitted 61 others, of the total 83 accused.
The SIT has already filed an appeal in the High Court, saying these persons should be convicted for murder. The trial court had convicted them for attempt to murder under Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code.
The SIT has also challenged the acquittal of the 57 accused on the ground that they were involved in a criminal conspiracy.
Those acquitted include former MLA Prahlad Gosa and former municipal council president Dayabhai Patel who are both BJP members.