Ahmedabad: Had the former Gujarat minister and BJP MLA Maya Kodnani not instigated a mob, 96 persons from the minority community would not have been massacred in Naroda Patiya on February 28, 2002, a special court has concluded.
Kodnani, a former minister in Narendra Modi government, was awarded 28 years imprisonment by a special court on August 31 in the Naroda Patiya massacre.
"This court firmly believes that had the instigation not been done by A-37 (Maya Kodnani), had the offence not been abetted by her, the communal riots would not have spread at Naroda Patiya on such large scale," designated judge Jyotsna Yagnik held in her 1,969-page judgement.
The judge provided a copy of her full judgement to all the convicts on CD. She awarded life terms to all 31 convicts, including Kodnani.
On the basis of the evidences and depositions of witnesses, the court also observed that "she (Kodnani) has played a role of instigating the Hindu mobs, thereby abetting the commission of offences by the co-conspirators. She has abetted formation of unlawful assembly to execute the conspiracy".
In the judgement, the court has held that "Kodnani is one of the kingpins of the entire communal riot and the principal conspirators."
Kodnani had defended that on the morning of February 28, 2002, as opposed to the claims of the witnesses, which pointed to her presence in Naroda Patiya, she was in the legislative assembly in Gandhinagar.
However, the court rejected her defence of alibi that she was in the assembly on that day.
"This court is of the opinion that Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad are twin cities and that it is hardly at a distance of 30km from Ahmedabad and therefore, if the accused was relieved at 8.40 am, it is not difficult for her to reach at Naroda Patiya site after 9 am," the court has observed.