Justice Anant Surendraray Dave of the Gujarat High Court on Thursday refused to hear the applications seeking cancellation of anticipatory bail granted to state Minister Maya Kodnani and former VHP general secretary Jaydeep Patel.
When the matter came up for hearing before Justice Dave at 10.30 am,he referred the case to be shifted to some other judge saying,Not before me. He did not give any reason for not hearing the matter.
The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the Naroda Gam and the Naroda Patiya massacre cases,had move three applications in all. The two cases are among the 10 most heinous riots of the 2002 being re-investigated by the SIT.
Meanwhile,Kodnani was seen closeted with Minister of State for Home Amit Shah and state Assembly Speaker Ashok Bhatt in the latters chamber in the Assembly building on Thursday. She also attended the ongoing vote-on-account budget session.
Kodnani is accused in both Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gam cases,while Patel is an accused in the Naroda Gam case. The SIT has challenged their anticipatory bail on the ground that they were involved in heinous offences and the Ahmedabad City Sessions Judge had not applied his mind properly into the case while granting them bail.
The duo was granted anticipatory bail on February 5,days after they were declared absconders on February 2,as they failed to turn up before the investigating agency on January 29 and 31.
Earlier,they had appeared before the SIT,but the latter wanted to quiz them again after contradictions in their statements and their cellphone records. While the two had stated that they were not in Naroda on February 27,2002 during the riots,their cellphone records showed they were present in that area.
A number of witnesses had also stated before the SIT that they had seen them egging on the mob to attack the two localities inhabited by the members of the minority community. However,the duo had denied the allegations.
Kodnani represents Naroda Assembly constituency and also runs a maternity hospital in the same area. Patel,a lab technician,operates a pathological laboratory at Naroda.
At present,they are barred from entering the area under conditions of the bail granted to them. They have also been asked to surrender their passports and ordered not to leave the country. A total of 95 people were reported to have been killed in the two massacres.
Profile of Justice Dave
Justice Dave,who was appointed a Gujarat HC Judge on October 8,2004,had earlier given some bold orders. About seven months ago,he had rejected the regular bail plea of Rajasthan cadre IPS officer Dinesh M N and Gujarat Police officer N K Amin,involved in the fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and the murder of his wife Kausarbi.
Born in December 1957 in a tribal village in Panchmahals,Dave enrolled as an advocate with the Bar Council of Gujarat on December 30,1984. As a successful lawyer,he represented the Centre in the HC. He was also a standing counsel for the Centre and the state in the capacity of additional government pleader and Solicitor in the HC,legal advisor for CERC in 1985-86,SSNNL,and other Central and state organisations. He also served as joint secretary,secretary and vice-president of the HC Bar Association from 1990 onwards.