The special trial court has given the last chance to former BJP minister Maya Kodnani to bring BJP national president Amit Shah as her defence witness in the Naroda Patiya massacre case. The court said there will be no further adjournment of the case after that. A key accused in the Naroda Gam riots case, Kodnani has asked the court for more time to find Shah’s address so as to ask him to depose in her defence.
Kodnani had told the special trial court on Monday that she will require more time to “contact” Shah to serve him summons to appear as her defence witness. In her application to the court, she said that since Shah is not “reachable” due to his busy schedule, “it is difficult to decide as to which address the summons be served to him”. She had sought time till September 12, 2017. Special judge P B Desai had granted her time till September 8 for Shah to testify. As she could not get Shah to testify on Friday, she sought more time from court.
Kodnani had sought examination of 14 people, including Shah, to prove her alibi that on February 28, 2002, the day riots broke out in Naroda Gam, she was not at the scene of the crime. Twelve people have testified in her favour that includes her husband Surendra Kodnani, former deputy mayor and BJP corporator Dinesh Makwana, former BJP MLA Amrish Govindbhai Patel among others.
Kodnani is accused of leading a mob of thousands of people and inciting them for violence in Naroda Gam in which 11 Muslims were killed. She is among the 82 accused who are facing trial. In 2012, she was convicted on similar charges and sentenced to life imprisonment for her role in Naroda Patiya massacre, a place close to Naroda Gam. She was held as the “kingpin” of the riots. She and 31 other convicts have challenged the verdict in the Gujarat High Court which concluded its hearing on August 30 and reserved the verdict.
Last month, the Supreme Court issued an order to the special trial court to wrap up the hearing in the Naroda Gam case within four months.