A bunch of sweaty supporters chanting slogans like Mayaben Tum Aage Badho,Hum Tumhare Saath Hain,Jai Shree Ram and Vande Matram escorted BJP leader Maya Kodnani on her way to surrender before the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in Gandhinagar on Friday noon. By her side was former VHP general secretary Jaydeep Patel,co-accused in the Naroda Gam riot case.
While a large media posse waited outside the SIT office with a few relatives of Kodnani and Patel,the Supreme Court-appointed team recorded the duo’s arrest. The saffron leaders surrendered after the Gujarat High Court cancelled their anticipatory bail granted by the Ahmedabad Sessions Court early in the day. Kodnani is an accused in the Naroda Gam and Naroda Patiya cases,while Patel is accused only in the Naroda Gam case.
Before entering the SIT office,Patel claimed before the media that he had the utmost respect for the judiciary and has accepted the order of the high court. He also said that neither Kodnani nor would he move the Supreme Court against the high court order.
The two leaders are now likely to be produced before the Metropolitan Court for police remand. Superintendent of Police P L Mal,who is investigating the Naroda Gam case,said,We arrested them around 4.30 pm. On Saturday,we will produce them before the court and demand their remand.
A number of witnesses at Naroda Gam and Naroda Patiya have stated that Kodnani and Patel were conducting and instigating rioters in these two areas,which left nearly 100 people killed. However,both the leaders have denied the charges,saying they were not present in the areas when the riots broke out.
Their names had appeared in the original FIR lodged in the case in 2002. But on September 4,2002,the Ahmedabad City Detection of Crime Branch had filed a summary report in the court pleading to close the case. They argued that the FIR had been merged with another one relating to the killings,so the names of Patel and Kodnani be removed,as there was no evidence against them.