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All 31 accused in Naroda Gam case held; 4 in Patiya case remain at large

With the arrest of BJP Councillor Vallabh Patel,the Special Investigation Team can now heave a sigh of relief...

Written by Vikram Rautela | Ahmedabad |
April 14, 2009 5:02:34 am

With the arrest of BJP Councillor Vallabh Patel,the Special Investigation Team (SIT) can now heave a sigh of relief,as all the 31 accused in the Naroda Gam massacre case,including former state minister Maya Kodnani,have been arrested. But in the Naroda Patiya case,the Supreme Court-appointed SIT is yet to arrest four accused,including Kripal Singh Chhabra a close aide of Kodnani and a BJP worker from Naroda.

The other three wanted in the Naroda Patiya massacre case,which had claimed 95 lives,are Ramila Charra,Chintu Charra and Vinod Marathi,all residents of Naroda.

The quartet,said the SIT,has been booked on charges of serious offences like murder,attempt to murder,rioting and arson. “Like Kodnani,Chhabra is also accused of inciting and leading communal mobs that day,” said V V Chaudhary,Superintendent of Police and the investigating officer in the case.

While Chhabra,Ramila and Chintu have been granted anticipatory bails by a Sessions court,Marathi is untraceable. “We have challenged the trio’s anticipatory bails in the Gujarat High Court and are awaiting the verdict. They along with Marathi will be arrested soon,” Chaudhary added.

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Naroda Patiya had started burning around 11 am on February 28,2002. The rioting continued till 8 pm,during which a total of 95 people from the minority community were butchered to death and their bodies set on fire. The city police started investigating into the cases and arrested 46 accused in 2002-2003. Those arrested included the then Bajrang Dal leader,Babu Bajrangi. The accused were later bailed out.

A total of 25 new names had cropped up in almost a year-long re-investigation by the SIT. Of this,21 have been arrested and four are still at large. In the Naroda Gam case,Patel was the only wanted accused. A team of the Naroda police arrested him from the Shiv Bungalow area on Sunday and handed him over to the SIT later in the night.

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