Arguing against the closure report on examination of witnesses by the Supreme Court- appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) in the 2002 Naroda Gam massacre case that has former BJP leader Maya Kodnani among 82 accused, the defence Tuesday drew parallel with the fate of Best Bakery case which attracted fresh trial.
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Defence lawyer Chetan Shah argued before the special designation court, “The SIT didn’t examine hundreds of witnesses whose statements were recorded during the investigation. They have already filed the closure report. But it is important that all witnesses be examined or else it would attract situation like Best Bakery case.” Best Bakery case is also related to 2002 riots which took place in Vadodara. The trial court had acquitted all 14 accused and the HC confirmed the trial court’s order in 2004. This had erupted into a controversy as the SC had made adverse comment on the manner in which the trial was conducted. The SC overturned the judgment, ordered fresh trial and shifted it to Mumbai.
Special judge P B Desai noted the argument of the defence lawyer. Shah was arguing against the closure of examination of witnesses by the prosecution SIT on the ground that SIT didn’t examine nearly 300 witnesses whose statements were recorded during the investigation. SIT, however, argued that it is the liberty of the prosecution to decide whose statements should be used in the trial. The SIT also argued that they have examined all witnesses and the case should move towards final arguments.
Special judge ordered investigating officer Himanshu Shukla, SP, Anti-Terrorism Squad, who had deposed in 2013 in the court that this case was still under investigation, to be present before the court on November 28.