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A special court hearing the Naroda Gam massacre case related to the 2002 Gujarat riots on Monday rejected an application moved by former BJP minister Maya Kodnani, an accused in the case. The application sought recall of a witness, K K Mysorewala, a former police inspector who first investigated the case.
Special judge P B Desai said the trial was not at a stage to entertain such an application. “I am not going to allow such an application since it will open a Pandora’s box,” he said. This witness can be summoned at a later stage, the court added.
Earlier, the Supreme Court appointed-special investigation team (SIT) had opposed Kodnani’s plea saying it would delay the trial. It had said that the application was nothing but an attempt to delay the trial.
Kodnani, sentenced to life imprisonment in the Naroda Patiya massacre case, is a key accused in the Naroda Gam case —— one of the nine major rioting cases probed by the SIT. The 82 accused in the case include former Bajrang Dal leader Babubhai Patel alias Babu Bajrangi, who is also serving life sentence in the Naroda Patiya case, and former VHP leader Jaydeep Patel.
Kodnani moved the application before the court on July 10, 2015, seeking recall of retired policeman Mysorewala, a key witness, who was police inspector at Naroda police station when the riots began on February 28, 2002. Her application mentioned that Mysorewala’s statements were recorded by the SIT twice in 2008 and 2009. It claimed that during Mysorewala’s cross-examination, “some relevant questions” were not asked and, therefore, the applicant (Kodnani) should be given an opportunity to re-examine Mysorewala.
The application claimed that five key witnesses in the case had filed affidavits in the Supreme Court on the riots which were not true. According to the application, if Mysorewala is recalled, he may be asked about the authenticity of these affidavits.
The SIT, in its reply, opposed the application, stating that the “defence in order to fill up a lacuna wants to recall the witness”. The SIT said the application was just a tactic to delay the trial, which was likely to conclude soon. Eleven persons from the minority community were killed in the Naroda Gam incident.