February 14, 2009 1:42:47 am
The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) is learnt to have declared 13 more accused wanted in the Gulbarg Society massacre case as absconders. The move has come within a week after the arrest of Valsad Deputy Superintendent of Police K G Erda in connection with the incident that had claimed 39 lives including that of Congress MP Ehsan Jafri,on February 28,2002.
Sources said the 13 accused have been declared as absconders in the SIT status report on nine cases pertaining to the 2002 Gujarat riots filed before the SC,on Thursday.
The SIT Chairman and former CBI chief,R K Raghavan confirmed that the status report was filed before the Registrar of Supreme Court on Thursday. Although Raghavan refused to comment on the contents of the report,highly placed sources in the SIT said that all the 13 have serious charges like murder,attempt to murder,rioting and arson against them and have been declared as absconders in the Gulbarg massacre case status report,which forms a part of the collective status report filed before the Supreme Court on Thursday.
While five accused are absconding since 2002,eight are those whose names had cropped up during the yearlong re-investigation of the Gulbarg Society case by the SIT. They are: Meghaninagar corporator,Bipin Patel; VHP leader and an Ayurveda practitioner,Atul Vaidhya; former Meghaninagar corporator,Chunnilal Prajapati; a city-based advocate,Meghsinh Chaudhary; an alleged bootlegger,Jitendra alias Lalu Nath; and residents of Meghaninagar,Dilip Jhingar,Dinesh Sharma and one Iniyo Harijan.
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Of these,Patel,Vaidya,Prajapati and Jhingar have already moved anticipatory bail pleas in court. The other five named in the list,who are absconding since 2002,are: Girish Prabhudas Sharma,Ramesh Ramnarayan Pandey,Ashish Ram,Jagvir Singh Pandey,Virendra Goswami and one Nandu.
“We have also applied for arrest warrants for the 13 in the metropolitan court number 11,” said an SIT official refusing to be named.
Meanwhile,a lower court on Friday remanded Erda in judicial custody after his five-day police remand expired. The SIT had arrested him from Valsad on February 8.
The SIT under Joint Commissioner of Police Ashish Bhatia recorded statements of over 500 witnesses while reinvestigating the Gulbarg Society massacre. Those who deposed before the body include Jafri’s widow,Zakia Jafri,and the Mody couple whose teenage son Azhar had gone missing in the incident.
A total of 26 new names had emerged during the SIT probe. Of the 46 accused arrested by the police in connection with the Gulbarg case in 2002,41 are out on bail while five are lodged in the Sabarmati Central Jail. After reinvestigating the case,SIT has arrested 18 including Erda.
SIT arrests 27th accused in Naroda Gam riots
The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) arrested a resident of Naroda,Pankaj Kumar Parikh (43) in connection to the Naroda Gam rioting case of February 28,2002. The SIT said Parikh has been arrested on charges of murder,attempt to murder,arson and rioting and will be produced before a local court soon.
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