Gujarat judge refuses to hear plea against minister

February 19th, 2009 - 10:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Ahmedabad, Feb 19 (IANS) A Gujarat High Court judge Thursday refused to hear a petition from a Supreme Court-appointed probe team which challenged the anticipatory bail to state Minister Maya Kodnani and former Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Jaydeep Patel in a case of communal violence.
“Not before me,” Justice Anant S. Dave said and added that another judge would hear the case and the date would be decided later. He did not elaborate on his remark.

City Sessions Judge A.K. Ashvani granted anticipatory bail to Minister of State for Higher Education Kodnani and Patel on Feb 5.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the apex court wanted to question the two in the case of the massacres at Naroda Patiya and Naroda village on the outskirts of the city on Feb 28, 2002. At least 99 people were killed in the rioting in the two adjoining places.

Ignoring the SIT summons last month, the two leaders secured anticipatory bails and became untraceable.

The SIT then got the state government’s permission and moved the high court Feb 17, seeking cancellation of anticipatory bail to Kodnani and Patel.

The SIT opposes the bail orders as the accused were involved in heinous offences, Gujarat police official and SIT member Ashish Bhatia has said.

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