Gujarat HC acquits 14 convicts under life imprisonment in Sardarpura massacre
Patna,Oct20:The Gujarat High Court on Thursday acquitted 14 persons out of a total of 31 who were convicted by special court in 2011 in Sardarpura massacre of 2002 post Godhra riots.
While upholding the conviction of 17 remaining convicts, the court dismissed the appeal petitions of state government, Supreme Court appointed-special investigation team (SIT) and victims who had challenged the acquittal of 31 accused by the special court. There were 62 accused in the case. Out of them, 31 were convicted for life imprisonment and the remaining were pleaded not guilty.
The division bench of justice Harsha Devani and justice Biren Vaishnav pronounced the order acquitting 14 persons from the 31 convicts. Senior lawyer Yogesh Lakhani who represented the convicts said that out of 14, the three have been given “clean acquittal while 11 were acquitted on benefit of doubt.” He said that detailed order will available post Diwali vacation.
In November 2011, the special court held 31 guilty of burning alive 33 members of minority community in one of the ghastly crimes unleashed during 2002 post-Godhra riots in Sardarpuara.
It was the first post Godhra riots case in Gujarat out of nine cases which were probed by SIT on which the verdict was pronounced.