Minister ingores summons, Modi government defends her

February 4th, 2009 - 7:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Ahmedabad, Feb 4 (IANS) The Gujarat government has said state Minister Maya Kodnani has “constitutional right” to defend herself even as she has refused to heed to repeated summons from a Supreme Court-appointed panel probing the communal violence of 2002.”Mayaben Kodnani, apart from being a minister, has a constitutional right, like you and me, to seek redress from court,” Health Minister and government spokesperson Jaynarayan Vyas told IANS Wednesday.

“She has approached the court. Until the court takes a decision, where is the question of the state government taking a stand (in her favour)? So far, the government has not taken any stand on this matter,” he clarified.

Minister of State for Women and Child Development Maya Kodnani has sought anticipatory bial from a court here. The plea will be heard Thursday.

Reacting to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) chief’s statement that Kodnani had ignored two summons, Vyas said it was “a prejudicial remark”.

The SIT, appointed by the Supreme Court to probe major cases of communal violence during 2002, has been sending summons to the minister.

She is alleged to have led mobs in Naroda village and Naroda Patiya on the outskirts of the city Feb 28, 2002. At least 89 people were killed in the massacre. As many as 22 survivors have named Kodnani as an accused while 24 witnesses have named Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Jaideep Patel.

Patel too has been summoned repeatedly and has been absconding.

The SIT served Kodnani a notice Jan 26 asking her to depose Jan 29. When she failed to turn up, the panel sent a fresh notice, summoning her Jan 31.

Congress spokesperson Arjun Modhwadia said Chief Minister Narendra Modi had included in his cabinet those who were involved in the communal violence.

“It would have been better if Kodnani had resigned when the SIT called her for interrogation,” Modhwadia said.

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