Manubhai Karsanbhai Patel,a retired policeman who was the first investigating officer in the Dipda Darwaza massacre case,on Monday became the first policeman to be convicted and sentenced in any of the post-Godhra riot cases.
Patel was charged with not filing an accurate FIR,not reporting that 11 people had gone missing on the day of the riot and not protecting evidence of the massacre. He was convicted by the special trial court of dereliction of duty and sentenced to a year of simple imprisonment.
As the then senior police inspector at Visnagar Police Station,Patel had registered the FIR in the case and remained IO between February 28,2002 and May 23,2002.
He was later arrested and chargesheeted by the SIT that further probed the case.
According to the chargesheet,Patel did not record complainant Iqbal Balochs statement accurately in the FIR. Also,he had collected medical certificates of 22 eye-witnesses,who were injured in the case,but did not record statements of 10 of them.
The then Mehsana SP Anupamsinh Gehlot had informed Patel about 11 missing persons on February 28,2002. However,Patel did not file any missing report.
Seven persons were arrested from the scene of massacre on the same day. During their interrogation,Patel did not try to find out about the 11 missing persons.