Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court Monday acquitted 12 people of murder in the killing of former minister Haren Pandya, but retained other charges, including criminal conspiracy.
The 12 were convicted by a lower court of killing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader.
After an appeal by the accused, a division bench of Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice J.C. Upadhayaya had, after a month-long hearing, reserved its judgement Aug 12.
The high court retained all the other charges, including those under Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), Indian Penal Code`s (IPC) section 307 (attempt to murder) and
section 120-B (criminal conspiracy).
Former minister of state for home and senior BJP leader Haren Pandya was shot dead on the morning of March 26, 2003.
The case had acquired political overtones after his family kept claiming that it was a political murder. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which investigated the case had arrested 15 people out of the 19 named as accused.
A designated POTA court had convicted 12 people June 25, 2007, with nine of them being given life term.
The CBI investigation of the case has come under criticism by the division bench in its judgement.