Gujarat minister accused in 2002 riots seeks anticipatory bail

February 3rd, 2009 - 12:49 am ICT by IANS  

Ahmedabad, Feb 2(IANS) Gujarat Minister Mayaben Kodnani, in the eye of a storm after being named in the 2002 Naroda Gam massacre case by a witness, has approached a court for anticipatory bail, Special Investigation Team (SIT) chief R. Raghavan said Monday.Kodnani, who is minister of state for women and child welfare and higher education, was accused by witnesses who said she led a mob during the 2002 post-Godhra riots.

Kodnani, a three-time MLA from Naroda assembly constituency, was interrogated by the SIT officials in December last year. Later, she refused to respond to SIT summons.

“We have sent her two notices and she has not responded. Now she has approached the sessions court for anticipatory bail whose hearing is fixed on Feb 5. She cannot be called an absconder nor she can be arrested until the bail plea is heard,” said Raghavan.

Speaking to IANS from Chennai, Raghavan said: “Let us see what happens after the bail plea is heard.”

“Two summons were issued to her Jan 29 and 31, but she failed to appear before us,” said a top SIT official who did not wish to be named.

“I do not understand how anyone can call her an absconder,” he said.

Interestingly, Kodnani is not traceable from her official residence at Gandhinagar or from her private residence here. She did not respond to phone calls when IANS tried to contact.

The SIT was constituted by the Supreme Court in March 2008 for re-investigation of torching of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra railway station and some post-Godhra riot cases of 2002.

Apart from Kodnani, former VHP leader Jaydeep Patel too is being re-investigated for his role in the riots.

The SIT has already filed a 300-page supplementary charge sheet against 24 people in the Naroda Gam case, where 11 Muslims were killed by a mob during the riots.

The Supreme Court appointed five-member SIT team is headed by Raghavan and also includes three IPS officers from Gujarat Geetha Johri, Shivanand Jha and Ashish Bhatia.

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