Mehsana: The conviction of retired police inspector MK Patel in the 2002 Deepda Darwaza riots case by a designated court on Monday is the first such instance wherein an investigation officer of a riot case in Gujarat has been handed down a jail term.
The former police inspector of Visnagar town Patel was awarded one-year imprisonment by judge SC Srivastava for dereliction of duty under sections 217 and 218 of IPC. Besides Patel, 21 accused were held guilty on various counts of IPC including attempt to murder and arson.
According to the charges framed against Patel by the designated judge on August 31, 2010, he had harboured a "biased approach" towards the complainant and showed criminal negligence towards the initial investigation of the case with the intention of saving criminals and misguiding the probe.
A frenzied mob had killed 11 members of a single family, including four children and five women, on February 28, 2002, a day after the Godhra train carnage, in Deepda Darwaza area of Visnagar town in Mehsana district.
Though Patel was absolved of the serious charges of murder, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence by the court, he was held guilty for criminal negligence of duty.
Patel was arraigned in 2009 by the court after the complainant moved the court for making Patel an accused in the case.
GV Barot, Investigating Officer of the Special Investigation Team filed a charge sheet on May 11, 2009 against Patel on counts of conspiracy to murder, destruction of evidence besides dereliction of duty.
Patel was arrested in 2009 but was released on bail within two-and-a-half months in jail. The time he has spent behind bars will now be excluded from the one-year jail term he was awarded today.