AHMEDABAD: BJP president Amit Shah appearing before a special SIT court as a defence witness for former BJP Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani in the 2002 Naroda Gam riot case said Kodnani was not present in Naroda Gam, on the day riots broke out.
As per ANI reports, Shah claimed that from 9:30 AM to 9:45 AM he was at the Civil Hospital and had met Kodnani there.
“Maya Kodnani was not present in Naroda Gam, she was inside the state assembly at 8.30 am. From 9:30 am to 9:45 am I was at the Civil Hospital and I met Maya Kodnani there,” Amit Shah was quoted as saying.
From 9:30 am to 9:45 am I was at the Civil Hospital & I met Maya Kodnani there: Amit Shah in Ahmedabad Court
— ANI (@ANI) September 18, 2017
“I was surrounded by people when I left hospital between 11:00-11:15 AM. Maya Kodnani and I were taken to our respective cars in Police jeep,” ANI further quoted Shah as saying.
Shah’s deposition started before Judge P B Desai who had last Tuesday summoned him in response to an application filed by Kodnani.
The court had allowed Kodnani’s plea to summon Shah and some others as witnesses in her defence in April this year.
On the day of the Naroda Gam riot near Ahmedabad, she said, she had visited the Sola Civil Hospital after attending the Legislative Assembly and was not present at the spot where the violence took place.
Shah, then an MLA, was also present at Sola Civil Hospital where bodies of the karsevaks killed in the Sabarmati Train burning incident were brought from Godhra. Shah’s testimony will help prove her ‘alibi’, that she was present elsewhere when the crime took place, she said.
Maya Kodnani, who was an MLA in 2002, was made a junior minister in Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s government in 2007.
Three weeks ago, the Supreme Court had asked the SIT court to conclude the trial within four months. A bench headed by then Chief Justice J S Khehar asked the lower court to complete recording of evidence of defence witnesses in two months.
Naroda Gam is one of the nine major 2002 communal riot cases which were investigated by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team.
Eleven Muslims were killed in Naroda Gam area on February 28, 2002, a day after the Godhra train incident.
A total of 82 persons are facing trial in the case.
Kodnani has been convicted and sentenced to 28 years in jail in the Naroda Patiya riot case. Kodnani wanted to present Shah to testify the veracity of her claims since, according to her, he was with her all the time.
With agencies inputs