A designated court Tuesday summoned BJP president Amit Shah as a defence witness in a 2002 post-Godhra riots case in which former Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani is an accused. Shah has been directed to appear in the Ahmedabad court on September 18 to depose in the Naroda Gam case in which 11 Muslims were killed on February 28, 2002, a day after the Sabarmati Express was torched at the Godhra railway station.
Special judge P B Desai issued the order after Kodnani’s lawyer, Amit Patel, moved an application stating that summons be issued to Shah “at his address at Royal Crescent, Thaltej in Ahmedabad for his appearance on September 18”. The judge allowed the summons to be served directly or, if Kodnani “desires”, through the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team.
Last Friday, Kodnani had sought more time, saying she had been unable to contact Shah. Among 82 accused in the case, she wants to prove her alibi that on the day of the Naroda Gam killings, she was not at the spot. She has already been sentenced to life imprisonment in the Naroda Patiya massacre case in which 97 Muslims were killed.
Kodnani wanted 14 persons, including Shah, to testify in her defence. Twelve persons have already given their testimony while the thirteenth was not examined as a witness. She has told the court that she tried several times to contact Shah “to find his present address where summons can be served on him”.
Her submission mentioned that the special court had allowed her application in April to issue summons to 14 persons as her defence witnesses under Section 233 (3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). This section states: “If the accused applies for the issue of any process for compelling the attendance of any witness or the production of any document or thing, the judge shall issue such process unless he considers, for reasons to be recorded, that such application should be refused on the ground that it is made for the purpose of vexation or delay or for defeating the ends of justice.”