Ahmedabad, Sep 8 (PTI): The Gujarat High Court was on Friday informed that the state government is yet to give its approval to the Supreme Court-appointed SIT to move the High Court against those acquitted in the 2002 Gulberg society massacre case. The verdict in this case was pronounced by the special court more than a year ago.
Judge Sonia Gokani was hearing a petition filed by slain Congress leader Ehsan Jafri’s widow Zakia, challenging a lower court order upholding a clean chit to the then chief minister Narendra Modi and others in the 2002 riots cases, when counsel for the petitioner and SIT told her about it. In June last year, a special court here had convicted 24 accused and acquitted 36 others in the Gulberg massacre case, one of the 2002 riots cases in which Jafri and 68 others were burned to death by a mob. When Justice Gokani enquired about the status of the Gulberg case, lawyers of Jafri and SIT informed the court that those convicted by the special court have already moved the high court challenging their conviction.
The court was told that a few surviving victims have also filed petitions against the acquittal of some of the accused. When the court asked weather the SIT has filed the appeal, the lawyers informed the court that it is awaiting the Gujarat government’s approval to move the high court. The SIT told the court that it has already requested the government to allow it to move the high court in appeal. The SIT wants to challenge the acquittal of the 36 accused as also seek enhancement of the sentence of those convicted.
The court expressed surprise at the delay in grant of approval despite the recommendation having been sent in August last year, saying “..still it has not seen the light of the day!”. Out of the 24 convicted people, the special SIT court had sentenced 11 to life imprisonment. While one accused was awarded ten-year jail term, the remaining 12 were sentenced to seven years in jail.