Gujarat Court Calls Amit Shah As Defence Witness For Maya Kodnani in Naroda Gam

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BJP chief Amit Shah

AHMEDABAD — A special court hearing the 2002 Naroda Gam riot case asked Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah on Tuesday to appear as a defence witness for former Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani, one of the prime accused.

Judge P.B. Desai, who is hearing nine riot cases, including Naroda Gam, being handled by a Special Investigation Team, has asked Shah to appear on September 18.

Kodnani, a gynaecologist by training, was convicted and sentenced to 28 years in jail in August 2012 for the Naroda Patiya riot in which 97 people were massacred.

She is accused of instigating the massacre of 11 Muslims in Naroda Gam as well, in the three days of attacks on Muslims that followed the death of 59 peoplein the Sabarmati Express  train fire at Godhra station on February 27, 2002.

Kodnani’s plea to call up Shah as a defence witness was allowed by the court in April, but she had failed to give the address to which the summons were to be issued. Her counsel did so on Tuesday.

In the Naroda Gam case, Kodnani, now 62, claims that she was elsewhere — at the Sola civil hospital, where bodies of Hindu kar sevaks killed in the train arson had been brought from Godhra.

Kodnani says Shah, then a state lawmaker, was also present at the Sola hospital and so can establish her alibi.

The massacre in Naroda Gam in Ahmedabad is one of the nine major 2002 communal riots that were investigated by the SIT. A total of 82 persons are facing trial in the case. — Agencies

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