Zee Media Bureau
Ahmedabad: In an unexpected turn of events, the Gujarat Government has decided to seek death penalty for Maya Kodnani, a former minister in Narendra Modi government, Bajrang Dal leader Babu Patel alias Bajrangi and eight others in connection with the 2002 Naroda Patiya riot case.
The Gujarat government is soon expected to file an appeal in the state High Court challenging the Special Court`s judgement awarding life sentence to the convicts, it was reported on Wednesday.
"The legal department has formed a panel of three advocates who have been asked to prepare an appeal to be filed in the High Court and seek death sentence for 10 convicts in the case, including Kodnani and Bajrangi, who were awarded life sentence by the trial court," Assistant Public Prosecutor Gaurang Vyas said late on Tuesday.
Government will be filing the appeal after a gap of seven months, whereas stipulated time for challenging a lower court`s order is three months. The state will have to seek approval from the High Court to file the appeal due to lapse of time.
Vyas has been appointed Assistant Public Prosecutor along with advocate Alpesh Kogje, while senior counsel Prashant Desai will represent the State Government as Special Public Prosecutor in the high-profile post-Godhra riot case.
Apart from seeking death sentence for 10 convicts, the appeal, likely to be filed next week, will press for enhancement of 24-year jail term to 30 years for 22 convicts given life sentence by the trial court, Vyas said.
The prosecution will also challenge designated court`s order to acquit 29 accused.
In August last year, trial court Judge Jyostna Yagnik sentenced Kodnani to 28 years jail, while Bajrangi was ordered to spend the rest of his life in prison. Eight others were awarded 31-year imprisonment, while 22 convicts got 24 years prison term.
As many as 97 people were brutally killed in Naroda Patiya locality of the city by a violent mob on February 28, 2002, a day after the Godhra train carnage triggered communal riots in Gujarat.
With PTI Inputs