THE conviction of Babubhai Patel alias Babu Bajrangi, who is on death row in the 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre case, is a “political conspiracy”, according to his wife.
Meenaben Patel, 46, who wrote a letter on her husband’s behalf to the Gujarat chief minister pleading for mercy, told
The Indian Express that there has been no response from the government yet. Copies of the letter, dated January 29, were sent to the governor, home minister and law minister.
At her home in Naroda on Tuesday, Meenaben said her husband was losing vision and can’t perform his daily chores without help from fellow jail inmates. Bajrangi is lodged in the Sabarmati Central Jail since 2012, following sentencing by a special court. Former state minister Maya Kodnani was also among those sentenced in the case.
Asked what kind of political conspiracy she was talking about, Meenaben refused to elaborate, saying, “It won’t be proper and it is well-known.”
On her husband’s health, she said, “I am allowed to see him once a week and his health has continuously been deteriorating since he has almost completely lost eyesight. He just can’t see.” “I am also unwell and have been suffering from diabetes and thyroid. My two sons don’t listen to me and I am left all alone. All I want is his company so that I can take care of him,” she said.
In her letter, Meenaben said, “My husband is suffering from severe diabetes, needs proper treatment, but he is not able to get it. Under these circumstances, he is unable to perform his routine chores and he is in helpless condition.” She said after Bajrangi’s conviction, her two sons did not maintain “good relations with the family or with me”. “Therefore, I request you to please exercise the powers you have and pardon my husband by taking all the aforementioned facts into consideration on humanitarian grounds,” she said in her two-page letter.
Sources said Governor Om Prakash Kohli has sent the letter to Ahmedabad Police Commissioner Shivanand Jha, who forwarded it to the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team that probed the case for its opinion. According to highly placed sources, no relief can be given to Bajrangi since his case was still in court.
“A mercy plea is entertained when the matter gets over in the courts. In case of Bajrangi, his appeal against the conviction is pending with the Gujarat High Court and hence nothing can be done at this moment,” a senior SIT officer said.