A sessions court on Tuesday acquitted all 44 persons, including a former BJP MLA, in one of the post-Godhra riots cases in 2002 in Gomtipur area in Ahmedabad. This was one of the few cases which were not probed by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation (SIT). The accused belonged to both the communities – Hindu and Muslim.
Principal sessions judge K K Bhatt ordered the release of 44 accused. Out of them, 17 are Hindus while the rest are Muslims. In this case, one person, Vasant Parmar, was stabbed to death while one Ashraf Pathan got killed in police firing.
Former BJP MLA from Shaherkotda Jitu Vaghela is among the 44 accused who were released by the court on Tuesday. Lawyer Chetan Shah, who defended Vaghela and other Hindu accused, said that the court ordered the release after prosecution failed to prove the case.
On March 30, almost a month after the burning of Sabarmati Express train in Godhra, there were sporadic incidents of rioting between the two communities at Nano Vankar Vaas, Moto Vankar Vaas, Shamsher Baug, Mohanlal ni chali, Vadila Ice Factory, Ashoknagar, Sutharwad, Mohan Bakery, among other localities of Gomtipur.
The riotous mob from both the communities attacked each other by pelting stones and wielding swords. Subsequently, police lodged FIR against the mob and arrested 31 Muslims and 13 Hindus. They were booked collectively for murder, unlawful assembly and rioting.
Shah said that all the accused were chargesheeted together, but following the request by the public prosecutor it was divided into two parts. According to Shah, the case was tried together since the set of witnesses and evidence were similar.