Bipin Patel, sitting BJP corporator from Asarwa, admitted that being an accused in the Gulberg Society case was something that had haunted him. Relieved when he heard his name in the list of accused who were acquitted, he said he had never been on the scene of the killing.
“The case had been hurting me for I was not involved at all,” said Patel, who was arrested in 2008 and spent six days in jail before being granted bail. “I was not even present on the scene. Since I was politically active and people from both communities knew me, my name was mentioned as an accused. But during the trial the witness failed to identify me.”
The acquittal of Patel and 35 others came for want of evidence. “This is big relief for me and my family. The thought that I was an accused had been haunting me,” he said.
Darshan, 20, whose father Mangilal Dhupchand Jain was convicted of attempted murder, arson, damaging properties and rioting besides other charges, refused to comment. “You know what must be going on in the family. I just can’t talk about it.”
Sonia Mehra, wife of Sandip a.k.a Sonu Ghunghruwaalwalo Ramprakash Mehra, said her husband has been behind bars for 14 years and not given regular bail. “All I pray is my husband comes back. His parents have passed away. My son and I are alone and struggling to survive,” she said.
Sandip has been convicted of unlawful assembly, arson and criminal trespass. His lawyer said he has already served 14 years for offences that don’t entail punishment more than seven years.