Gulberg Society massacre: 24 accused convicted, 36 including BJP corporator acquitted

NEW DELHI: A special SIT court on Thursday convicted 24 accused and acquitted 36 in connection with a 2002 post-Godhra riots case of Gulberg Society in which 69 persons including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri were killed.

Special Court Judge PB Desai delivered the judgement over eight months after the trial concluded on September 22, 2015.
One of the accused, Bipin Patel, a sitting BJP corporator from Asarva seat has also been acquitted. He was also the corporator in 2002 when the massacre happened and won the election for fourth consecutive term last year.

Out of the 66 accused named by the SIT in the case, nine are behind bars since 14 years, while others are out on bail.
Last week, the court had turned down pleas moved by two accused–Narayan Tank and Babu Rathod–to conduct narco analysis and brain mapping tests on them to prove their innocence. The court maintained that it was not required when the verdict was imminent.
During the trial, riots victim’s lawyer had argued that the massacre was a pre-planned criminal conspiracy hatched by the accused to kill minority community members of the Gulberg Society.
The defence had refuted the conspiracy theory of prosecution and claimed that the mob resorted to violence only after slain Congress MP Eshan Jafri fired several rounds on them.
The Gulberg Society case is one of the nine cases of the 2002 Gujarat riots probed by the Supreme Court appointed SIT.
The incident had taken place a day after S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was burnt near Godhra train station, where in 58 ‘karsevaks’ were killed.
(With agency inputs)