Former Gujarat Minister Maya Kodnani and ex-VHP leader Jaideep Patel were remanded in police custody till April 1 by a local court in connection with the 2002 post-Godhra riots case.
Kodnani and Patel’s anticipatory bail was cancelled by Gujarat High Court on Friday,after which they had surrendered before the Special Investigation Team (SIT),appointed by the Supreme Court to probe some of the riot cases afresh.
Kodnani,who was Minister of State for Women and Child Welfare and Higher Education in the Narendra Modi Government,had resigned from her post shortly after the High Court order.
Metropolitan Magistrate N A Engineer sent the duo to four-day custody in the Naroda Gam riot case. The SIT had sought 14-day custody,a plea not accepted by the local court.
Kodnani and Patel are accused of leading rioting mobs in Naroda Patia and Naroda Gam areas on the city’s outskirts,where 106 people were killed on February 28,2002,a day after the burning of Sabarmati Express near Godhra.
The SIT,in its application seeking custody,charged that Kodnani,the BJP MLA from Naroda,and Patel had led the mobs and instigated them with their speeches which triggered the attacks on the minority community in the area.
The SIT application argued that the two leaders were present at the spot when the mob attacked the people and hence,their remand is necessary to identify the co-accused.
“There is discrepancy in the statements given by Kodnani and Patel before the investigating agencies,” the SIT application said,adding they needed to unravel the truth.
The application further said that the duo’s claim that they were not present at the scene seems false. Their interrogation would help in finding out their exact location on the day of the incident,it said.
“There appears to be a pre-planned conspiracy which triggered the Naroda Patia and Naroda Gam riots and the SIT needs to unravel this,” the application said.
The SIT also wanted to find out if any other political leaders were involved in the conspiracy,it said.
Kodnani’s lawyer Mitesh Amin,arguing in the court,maintained that she was not present in Naroda Patia or Naroda Gam area at the time of the incident.
Supporters of Kodnani and Patel thronged the court premises in large numbers and shouted slogans when the duo were brought to the court.
The Naroda area of the city,from where the two hail,observed a partial shutdown in their support.