Six acquitted in 2002 Gujarat riots case



Ahmedabad: Six persons accused in a 2002 riot case where a youth and his mother were allegedly burnt to death in Gomtipur area here, were acquitted by a trial court for lack of evidence.

Additional sessions Judge M P Sheth, hearing the case, on Tuesday acquitted all six accused in the case on the grounds that the prosecution could not prove its case beyond reasonable doubt against those arrested and charge-sheeted by police.

According to case details, the incident had taken place on April 21, 2002 when two persons identified as Firoz and his mother Hamidabanu were burnt alive while they were on their way to Rakhial Crossroads here.

The victims were on a motorcycle when the duo was intercepted by a mob near Parmanand’s Chawl in Gomtipur area.

The rioters had also looted shops belonging to minority community in the same area.

Though complaint of burning of two humans by a mob was immediately filed by one of the shop owners, the accused were arrested only in 2006. Out of the seven accused named in the FIR, one of them had died by then.

Six persons from Gomtipur area, including one Vicki Christian, were arrested by the police four years after the incident. The chargesheet filed described how petrol was procured and the mother-son duo was torched on road in broad daylight. But the police had not named any eyewitness in the chargesheet.

The trial in the case commenced only in 2011 where eight witnesses were examined including the doctor who performed autopsy on the deceased, two investigating officers, two persons including the complainant whose shops were damaged and three other witnesses. One of the witnesses had turned hostile.

According to defence lawyer Sandip Christie there was no eyewitness in this case.

Public Prosecutor U D Shekhawat said the investigation in this case was not proper, because the accused came to be arrested very late, after four years of the incident.

PTI