Nine persons, accused of setting 40 bikes on fire outside the venue of a public meeting of the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi in Varachha area of Surat in 2007, were acquitted by a court due to lack of evidence on Friday.
One of the bike owners, Mansukh Kachhadiya, had lodged a complaint with Kapodara police station against members of Sardar Utkarsh Samithi which had opposed to the meeting organised by the BJP.
Following the incident, police arrested nine persons in connection with the fire. They are Bhagirath Pithawdiwala (now with BJP), Ashok Jirawala (now Congress party municipal councillor), Bhikhubhai Zevarbhai, Sanjay Dhirajlal, Jadisha Khunt, Dalsukh Chovatia, Jitu Patel, Ajay Patel and Suresh Pansare, all residents of Varachha area.
In the order, judge Babulal Bohra said that the police investigation and statements of the witnesses do not confirm that the nine set the bikes on fire. Moreover, there is no eyewitness in the incident. It has also been observed that the investigating officials have not even found out under whose name the Sardar Utkarsh Samithi is registered and the details of its members, the judge said in the order. Defence lawyer Y B Wala said, “We are happy with the judgment.”
Surat Municipal councillor of Ward No. 3 (Varachha, Sarthana and Simada areas) Ashok Jirawala said, “Police had made a case against us because we are Congress supporters. We are thankful that the court saw through it and acquitted us.”
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