BJP President Amit Shah told a special court on Monday that former Gujarat minister, Maya Kodnani, was in the state assembly and then in a government hospital when deadly riots broke out in parts of Ahmedabad in February 2002.
Shah appeared as a witness to Kodnani’s defense, accused of inciting a crowd that killed 11 people in the Naroda Gam area of the city on February 28, 2002. She has already been sentenced and sentenced to life in a case separated from riots in the Naroda Patiya region of Ahmedabad.
The riots broke out across Gujarat after a bogie of the Sabarmati Express was set on fire on suspicion of Muslim mob in Godhra in February 2002. The fire killed 59 Hindus, mostly Karsevaks or returning volunteers from Ayodhya, where the Hindu groups and rival Muslims are locked in a conflict of several decades in a religious site. The blaze triggered three days of retaliatory attacks throughout the state, leaving about 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, dead.
Shah told the court that on 28 February he left the assembly building in Gandhinagar for Sola Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad where the bodies of the victims of the train fire had been brought. He said that Kodnani was also present.
“Mayaben Kodnani was not in Naroda Gam, but at the State Assembly at 8.30am I was in the civil hospital from 9.30 to 9.45 and I met Maya Kodnani there,” Shah said. quoted by the IANS news agency.
The BJP president said police escorted Kodnani and in a safe place after the rebel mobs surrounded the hospital. He then said he did not know where Kodnani was coming from, the PTI news agency reported.
Shah, however, said he did not know whether a firm in a Kodnani presence record had produced as evidence in his support was his, defense and prosecution lawyers said. But the lawyer on both sides interpreted Shah’s presentation differently.
“Amit Shah testified in favor of Kodnani,” said defense lawyer Chetan Shah. But prosecutor Samshad Pathan disputed that Kodnani’s attendance at the assembly and later at the hospital did not necessarily acquit him.
“Ami Shah told the court that Maya Kodnani was in the assembly in the morning, and then saw her leave the hospital at 11:30 am, which shows that she was present at Naroda Gam when the violence occurred,” he said. Pathan.
Last week, the court convened Shah as a witness at the request of Kodnani, who was Minister of Foreign Affairs and Child Welfare in the government of Narendra Modi of Gujarat. Kodnani had initially asked the court to summon Shah and 13 others in his defense in April this year to prove that he was not present at Naroda Gam on February 28 when riots broke out there.
According to his request, and Shah, he wanted to prove that MP Sarkhej followed the meeting and then to the Sola Civil Hospital when the riots broke out.
Kodnani has been released on bail for health reasons since 2014. In 2009, the Supreme Court has set up six special courts to expedite trials in cases related to one of the worst religious unrest in the country.