The special trial judge for the 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre case,Jyotsana Yagnik,visited the massacre site and the surrounding areas on Monday,ahead of the commencement of final arguments by prosecution and defence from February 9.
The visit,which took around six-and-a-half-hours,has been done under the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code after recording entire evidence related to the case.
Ninety-five persons were killed in the massacre when a mob of thousands attacked the Naroda Patiya locality,mainly inhabited by Muslims.
The case is one of the nine most gruesome riot cases that were further investigated by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by the Supreme Court. A total 63 persons are undergoing trial in the case,including BJP MLA and former minister,Maya Kodnani.
The special judge started the visit at 11.30 am and was there till around 6 pm. During the visit,the court was accompanied by staff,SIT officers,prosecution and defence advocates,along with those of the victims and witnesses. The court got the main spots of the site videographed and photographed.
According to advocate Shamshad Pathan,throughout the visit,the judge was guided mainly by SIT officers and lawyers. She did not interact much with the witnesses or the people residing there.
Some of the landmark sites that the court visited include Jawahar Nagar,Hussain Nagar Chali,Kumbhaji Chali,ST Workshop Wall,Teesra Kuva,Gangotri Society,Bhagyoday Hotel,Noorani Masjid,Natraj Hotel and SRP Quarters.
Tight security arrangements were made at the site with the deployment of local police,border wing jawans and Central Industrial Security Force personnel.
Police chief told about bodies in well: Bhatt
Suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt has once again written to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing 2002 riots,this time claiming that the then Ahmedabad Police Commissioner P C Pande was alerted about bodies of victims killed in Naroda Patiya were being dumped in Teesra Kuwa,a well there.
In his letter on Monday,Bhatt attached a letter of the then additional DGP (Intelligence) GC Raiger dated March 18,2002,which was addressed to the then Ahmedabad police chief.
Raigers letter,attached by Bhatt,reportedly stated it has been found that a few dead bodies have been thrown in Teesra Kuwa,a well behind Naroda Patiya ST Bus Workshop near Shardanagar. It further said the concerned police officers should verify and report to the Intelligence department as soon as possible if anything is found.
Bhatt has also claimed that the then ACP (Intelligence) HG Sodhatar and police inspector E L Christian had also written to the then Ahmedabad police chief on March 18,2002 about the bodies dumped in the well.
Bhatt said in his letter that copies of Raigers fax message to the then Ahmedabad police chief was handed over to SIT earlier,but it made no efforts to exhume the remains.
Teesta in SC: Case against me a red herring
Activist Teesta Setalvad has filed a rejoinder before the Supreme Court in connection with her petition related to a case where she,along with others,is accused of fabricating affidavits on behalf of the 2002 riots victims and witnesses. In her affidavit,Setalvad has stated that criminal proceedings against her are aimed at diluting the concentration and attention on ongoing trials in critical riot cases and the historic prosecution of Gujarat Chief Minister and other influential persons in Zakia Jafris petition.