Eight of the 12 convicted for the murder of Haren Pandya, former BJP minister in the state, surrendered before a special POTA court in Ahmedabad Monday. The court had issued an application of warrant for nine convicted in the case.
On July 5, the Supreme Court overturned the acquittal of the accused persons by the Gujarat High Court in 2011. The apex court upheld the trial court’s conviction of the 12 accused found guilty in 2007.
Of the 12, three have already undergone their sentence as was adjudged by the Gujarat HC and was not interfered with by the apex court. An application was moved last week by the CBI in the designated POTA court for the issuance of warrant to arrest the remaining nine, so as to take them into judicial custody. This was granted by the court.
Advocate Illiyas Khan, representing the eight convicts, said, “Whenever a judgment is pronounced, there is a time frame mentioned within which the convicts have to turn up. Since the Gujarat HC had acquitted all, they were not in custody. Moreover, the SC judgment did not mention any time frame for the convicts to surrender. The apex court order was received on July 15, following which the CBI moved the application for arrest warrant. This was granted on Saturday, following which eight surrendered before the court today (Monday) and were taken into judicial custody.” One Md Asgar Ali is lodged in a Hyderabad jail in a separate matter. His transfer has been sought and is expected to be done in the next couple of days. Asgar Ali was the prime accused and the sharp shooter who was found guilty of pulling the trigger on Pandya.
Pandya, who held the Home and Revenue portfolios during the chief ministership of Narendra Modi, was shot dead when he entered his car after a morning walk, on March 26, 2003, near Law Garden area in the city.