Gujarat High Court (HC) allowed Gujarat Government to move petition seeking enhancement of punishment of Babu Patel alias Babu Bajrangi and 15 others in the 2002 Naroda Patiya Massacre case by allowing its application that sought condonation of delay of 369 days in moving the appeal. A division bench of HC comprising Justices Jayant Patel and Z K Saiyed passed an order in this regard.
In August 2012, a special trial court conducting trial of the 2002 Naroda Patiya Massacre case convicted 32 persons while acquitting 29 others in the case. Those convicted included former BJP MLA and state minister Dr Maya Kodnani and Bagrangi. While Kodnani was awarded life imprisonment and sent to jail for 28 years, Bajrangi was sentenced to life imprisonment till death.
Following the judgment, Gujarat Government has moved criminal appeals seeking enhancement of sentence of 16 of the 32 convicts. The list of 16 includes Bajrangi, but excludes Kodnani. Earlier, the State Government faced an embarrassing situation after it first granted permission to seek death sentence for Kodnani before HC and later on reversed the decision. In its appeal against Bajrangi, the state government has sought life imprisonment till death without remission.
Though, the state government had committed delay of 369 days in moving the appeals within mandatory time period of 90 days, it moved applications for condonation of delay for moving the appeals.
Special Public Prosecutor Prashant Desai appeared before the court along with Assistant Special Public Prosecutor Alpesh Kogje. Desai said that the court has allowed the applications and the appeals have been admitted and would be heard along with the appeals of the convicts. Kogje said that none of the convicts had objected to the petition seeking condonation of delay.
Sources said Ashish Khetan will be the vice-chairman of the commission.