An accused in the 2002 Naroda Gam riots and former minister of women and children development in the state, Maya Kodnani, who sought a modification in her bail condition last week seeking permission to move out of Gujarat as and when required, was granted the same by a special court for trial of riot cases, on Saturday.
Kodnani’s bail order dated May 19, 2009, restrained her from leaving Gujarat without the prior permission of the court. Kodnani sought to modify/relax this condition for six months.
Earlier this year, she moved a similar application, seeking complete deletion of this condition. The request was rejected and instead she was granted partial relief. In an order dated January 7 this year, Judge MK Dave relaxed her initial bail restriction and allowed her to move out of the boundaries of Gujarat for a period of six months from the date of such orders. The relaxation was valid until July 7.
Before the relaxation expired, Kodnani moved the special court seeking relaxation of her bail condition for another six months. Advocate Amit Patel, representing Kodnani, submitted that Kodnani is “required to frequent(ly) (move) outside the State of Gujarat for the purpose of composing herself from her ailment of depression by embarking on pilgrimages outside Gujarat along with family members”.
He also submitted that Kodnani was granted identical reliefs by the court earlier, and that she never violated the conditions imposed by the court.
The court’s order of Saturday noted that the state government, represented by special public prosecutor SC Shah, had not raised any serious objections to the grant of such reliefs.
The court of special Judge MK Dave ordered that the bail condition that restricted Kodnani’s movement be relaxed for a period of six months starting July 7, 2019. The court granted Kodnani permission to leave the boundaries of the state during the period, as and when required.
However, the judge made it clear that before any attempt is made by Kodnani to move out of Gujarat, the state would be informed at least 24 hours in advance and Kodnani shall also provide her active mobile number and address of places being visited to the investigating officer.
Judge Dave further instructed that Kodnani shall return to Ahmedabad if and when required by the investigating officer, and she shall intimate the state about her return to Ahmedabad, within 48 hours.
Kodnani is an accused in a 2002 Naroda Gam riot case in which 11 Muslims were killed and is facing trial in a special SIT court. The Special Investigating Team (SIT) arrested Kodnani in 2009 in the Naroda Patiya case while she was still the minister of women and child welfare in the cabinet of Narendra Modi who was the Chief Minister then. She subsequently resigned. In August 2012, a special SIT court sentenced Kodnani to
28 years of imprisonment but was aquitted by the Gujarat High Court in April 2018