Naroda Patiya riots: Kodnani, Bajrangi among 31 get life term

The Court named Kodnani, a sitting MLA and former Gujarat Minister, as "a kingpin of riots" in Naroda area and sentenced her to 18-year life imprisonment after serving 10 years jail term while Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi would his entire remaining life behind bars

Ahmedabad: A Special Court on Friday awarded life imprisonment to BJP MLA Maya Kodnani, Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi and 29 other convicts for the 2002 riots here at Naroda Patiya where 97 people were brutally killed, reports PTI.


The Court named Kodnani, a sitting MLA and former Gujarat Minister, as "a kingpin of riots" in Naroda area and sentenced her to 18-year life imprisonment after serving 10 years jail term under IPC Section 326 (voluntary causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means).


Bajrangi, another high profile accused, will have to spend his entire remaining life behind bars, it said and described communal violence as "cancer".


Seven other convicts were given jail term of 21 years by Additional Principal Judge Jyotsna Yagnik. They will also have to first serve 10-year imprisonment under Section 326.


The remaining 22 convicts were given simple life imprisonment (14 years).


The Court had on Wednesday convicted 32 and acquitted 29 persons in the worst riots case in the aftermath of the Godhra train carnage. It did not pronounce sentence against one accused who is absconding.


"Communal riots are like cancer on Constitutional secularism and the incident in Naroda Patiya was a black chapter in the history of the Indian Constitution," the Judge observed.


"Acts of communal violence are brutal, inhuman and shameful. It (Naroda) was a clear incident of human rights violation as 97 people were killed brutally within a day which included helpless women, children, aged persons. The climax of this inhuman and brutal act of violence was reflected in murder of an infant, who was 20-day old," the Court noted.


The Judge accepted that one victim, who was also a witness, was gang raped, but due to lack of evidence, the court has not charged anybody for that offence.


However, the court directed the Gujarat Government to pay Rs5 lakh as compensation to the victim.


Rejecting the defence theory that the communal violence was a reaction to the Godhra carnage, the court said, "This was a pre-planned conspiracy and it cannot be mitigated just by saying it was a reaction of Godhra train burning incident.


Nobody can be allowed to take law into their hands because India is a country that upholds rule of law."


The Court's inclination was against awarding death penalty in the case.


"Death penalty brings justice and it is desirable to reduce the crime in the society but this court cannot overlook the global trend prevalent in recent years. By 2009, 139 countries had repealed death sentence and there is a global campaign against death penally and progressive societies are advocating for restricting death penalty and this court believes use of death undermines human dignity."


Regarding Kodnani, the court observed that she was the "kingpin of entire riots" that took place in Naroda Patiya area. She led the mob and incited them for violence. She abetted and supported the violent mob, it said.


Kodanai, who was MLA of Naroda at the time of riots, was made Minister of State for Women and Child Development in 2007 in the Narendra Modi Government. She had to resign after she was arrested in the case in March 2009.


The three-time legislator, who was considered close to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, is the first woman to be convicted in a post-Godhra riots case. Kodnani, who was present in the court, broke down after she was sentenced.


The massacre had taken place a day after the Godhra train burning incident of 27 February 2002.


On February 28, 2002, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had called a state-wide bandh to protest against the Godhra train carnage. On that a large crowd gathered in Naroda Patiya area in Ahmedabad and attacked people belonging to minority community, resulting in the death of 97 people and injury to 33 others.


The trial in the case began in August 2009 and charges were framed against 62 accused. One of them, Vijay Shetty, died in the course of trial. As many as 327 witnesses, including a journalists who conducted a TV sting operation on the accused, had been examined by the court.


Kodnani is the first woman accused to be convicted in a post-Godhra riot case. In Dipda Darwaja case of Mehsana district, three women were among the accused, but they were acquitted by the court on 30 July 2012.


In the Naroda Patiya incident too, two other women were among the accused, but they were let-off.


Among the post-Godhra riot cases probed by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) and in which rulings have come, Naroda is the only one where convicts outnumber those acquitted (32-29).


In the Godhra train carnage, the court convicted 31 and acquitted 63. In Sardarpura case, 31 accused were found guilty, but 42 were let-off, and in Dipda Darwaja case 22 were convicted and 61 acquitted.


The Naroda Patiya case was probed by eight Investigating Officers over the last decade with the latest being Himanshu Shukla (of SIT). It was one of the nine riot cases probed by SIT, which also handled the Godhra train burning incident.


Initially, 46 people were arrested by Gujarat Police for the Naroda Patiya massacre. Twenty-four more people were apprehended after the probe was handed over to SIT in 2008.


In all, 70 people were arrested. Six persons died before the charges could be framed, while two others, Mohan Nepali and Tejas Pathak, jumped bail and are still absconding.


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Sensex, Nifty may go down further: Friday Closing Report

A higher high and higher low, which has not happened for the last four days, will be the first sign of reversal


The market closed in the red on the back of a slowdown in the country’s first quarter economic growth and continuing paralysis of the Parliament. Receding expectations of any new initiatives by the US Federal Reserve to spur growth also weighed on investors. Yesterday we mentioned that if the Nifty manages to close in the positive today it may bring some relief on the bourses. However, today the index made a lower high and a lower low and ended at the 50 day moving average. We may now see the index heading further down unless it manages to make a higher high and higher low. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) saw a higher volume of 60.24 crore shares and an advance-decline ratio of 701:950.
The market opened lower than yesterday ahead of the release of India’s GDP (gross domestic product) data for the June quarter. Subdued performance in the global markets also weighed on the sentiments. The Nifty slipped 15 points to open trade at 5,298 and the Sensex started off at 17,558, up 16 points over its previous close.
The opening figure on the Sensex was its intraday high while the Nifty scaled its high in late morning trade with the index touching 5,303. In the interim, trade was lacklustre with the indices staying in the negative on selling pressure in IT, power and realty stocks.
India’s GDP growth for the first quarter ended June 2012 stood at at.5%, from 8% in the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal. The decline was on account of the subdued performance of manufacturing, mining and farm sectors, government data showed.
Political instability, as the standoff in Parliament entered the eighth day, added to investors’ woes in the second half of trade as well. Even the European market trading in the positive in early trade did not help matters.
The indices fell to their lows a few minutes after 2.00pm as selling got more intense. At the lows, the Nifty went back to 5,239 and the Sensex dropped to 17,338. 
The market closed off the lows on buying in select stocks towards the end of the session. The Nifty closed 57 points (1.06%) lower at 5,259 and the Sensex settled at 17,430, a cut of 112 points (0.64%) from its previous close.
The broader indices outperformed the Sensex as the BSE Mid-cap index added 0.07% and the BSE Small-cap index rose 0.07%.
The BSE Healthcare index (up 0.01%) was the lone gainer in the sectoral space. The top losers were BSE Metal (down 1.39%); BSE Power (down 1.33%); BSE Oil & Gas (down 1.31%); BSE Realty (down 1.27%) and BSE Auto (down 1.23%). 
Only five of the thirty Sensex ended in the positive today; they were Cipla (up 1.64%); HDFC (up 1.31%); Bharti Airtel (up 1.22%); State Bank of India (up 0.26%) and ONGC (up 0.16%.  The top losers on the index were Hindalco Industries (down 2.21%); Coal India (down 2.15%); BHEL (down2.10%); Hero MotoCorp (down 2.02%) and Sterlite Industries (down 1.99%).
The top two A Group gainers on the BSE were—Biocon (up 4.49%) and MMTC (up 3.92%).
The top two A Group losers on the BSE were—GMR Infrastructure (down 4.70%) and IFCI (down 4.04%).
The top two B Group gainers on the BSE were—DMC Education (up 18.11%) and Shalibhadra Finance (up 14.71%).
The top two B Group losers on the BSE were—Saboo Sodium Chloro (down 11.72%) and TCI Developers (down 10.45%).
The top gainers on the Nifty were Bharti Airtel (up 1.50%); Cipla (up 1.13%); SAIL (up 0.83%); HDFC (up 0.66%) and Ranbaxy Laboratories (up 0.64%). The key losers were Hero MotoCorp (down 3.88%); BPCL (down 3.74%); Kotak Mahindra Bank (down 3.27%); IDFC (down 3%) and BHEL (down 2.92%).
Markets in Asia closed mostly lower as expectations of new initiatives from the US Federal Reserve receded. Disappointment in corporate earning for the first half of the year pulled the Shanghai index lower.
The Shanghai Composite declined 0.25%; the Hang Seng dropped 0.36%; the Nikkei 225 tanked 1.60% and the Seoul Composite fell by 0.07%. Among the gainers, the Jakarta Composite climbed 0.86%; the Straits Times gained 0.45% and the Taiwan Weighted advanced 0.35%.
At the time of writing, the key European indices were up between 0.33% and 1.31% and the US stock futures were in the positive, indicating a firm start to the US markets on the day when Fed chief Ben Bernanke makes his speech at the central bankers’ meeting at Jackson Hole, Wyoming later today.
Back home, institutional investors—both foreign and domestic—were net buyers in the equities segment on Thursday. While foreign institutional investors pumped in a huge Rs2,306.10 crore, domestic institutional investors brought in Rs328.11 crore.
Vijaya Bank has slashed interest rates on MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) loans by up to 1% across the board, effective from 1 September 2012. Also, in order to encourage MSME units to go in for rating by accredited external credit rating agencies, it has offered them incentives by way of a further reduction in the rate of interest ranging from 0.25% to 1% depending upon the ratings obtained. The bank settled at Rs46.35 on the NSE, down 1.38%.
Diamond and jewellery manufacturing firm Shrenuj & Company has drawn up a capital expenditure plan of Rs200 crore over three years until 2014-15. The company had projected a 25% growth in sales at the start of the financial year but has now revised it down to 15% mainly because of tardy growth in the first few months of the year. The stock jumped 4.36% to close at Rs57.50 on the NSE.



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