The defence counsel of Minister of State for Higher Education Maya Kodnani on Friday vehemently opposed the plea of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) to seek cancellation of her anticipatory bail.
Defence counsel S V Raju submitted before Justice D H Waghela of the Gujarat High Court that a systematic conspiracy is being hatched to malign my client because she happens to be a political figure.
Raju said: Even the media is being misused and statements of the witnesses are being tampered with to build a case against the minister.
It is because of political reasons that Kodnani is being accused at this stage by the witnesses, Raju said,referring to a statement made by Dilavar Saiyed,one of the witnesses,which was flashed by the media.
Saiyed had accused Kodnani of threatening him through one of her supporters in case he did not withdraw the case against her.
Making a spirited defence in favour of Kodnani,Raju argued that the charges levelled against the minister for participating in unlawful activities did not apply to her as she was not present in the mob when the actual attack on Muslims in Naroda Patia and Naroda Gam took place.
The minister had left the illegal assembly before the actual incident took place,and hence she cannot be held as an accused in the case, he said.
Raju further drew the attention of the court that the name of the minister did not figure anywhere in the previous investigations.
It surfaced only during the SIT investigations and that too,after six and a half years of the occurrence of the offence,which was not in consistence with the earlier investigations,he added.
When Raju pleaded that the setting up of the SIT was unwarranted because the previous investigations were also monitored by high-ranking officers,Justice Waghela told him that the setting up of the SIT by the apex court indicated that the work done by the previous investigating agency was not good enough.
Justice Waghela said that though the state government counsel in the apex court,Mukul Rohtagi had stated that the probe was supervised by senior officers,the Supreme Court still went ahead and set up the SIT with officers from outside the state,to monitor the fresh investigations.
The case has been adjourned till March 17.