Ahmedabad: The Gujarat Government has refused permission to the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team to challenge the bail given to former Minister Maya Kodnani in a post-Godhra riot case. Kodnani, who was given bail by Gujarat High Court, was convicted in the Naroda Patia riot case - in which 97 people were killed - and awarded 28-year jail term by the trial court.
“We have taken a decision of not granting permission to SIT to file an appeal before the Supreme Court to challenge bail to Kodnani on the basis of some past judgements of the apex court,” Law and Justice Secretary V P Patel told PTI here today.
Kodnani, who handled Women and Child Development portfolio in the then Narendra Modi Cabinet, was granted bail by the High Court on July 30 on health grounds. Prashant Desai, Special Public Prosecutor representing SIT, said the State Government had sought his opinion on challenging Kodnani's bail in the apex court. “When Mayaben Kodnani was granted bail by the High Court, the State Government sought my opinion on whether or not to file an appeal in the Supreme Court.
“Looking into the situation and facts of the case, I was of the opinion that there is a remote chance of success. Despite my opinion, the Gujarat Government has all the authority to go to the Supreme Court,” Desai maintained.
The HC had granted bail to the former MLA considering her submission that she suffered from acute depression and tuberculosis, for which she is being treated at Ahmedabad City Civil Hospital.
Kodnani's sentence was also suspended till her appeal against the trial court order is disposed by the High Court.
Kodnani, who was convicted as a ‘kingpin' of the massacre, was sentenced to a 28-year jail term by a special trial court in Naroda Patia area of Ahmedabad city, and she became the first convict in the Naroda Patia case to get regular bail from the Gujarat High Court.
The three-time legislator was also the first woman to be convicted in a post-Godhra riots case. Kodnani, who was a BJP MLA representing Naroda at the time of the 2002 riots, was made Minister of State for Women and Child Development in the 2007 Narendra Modi-led Gujarat cabinet.
However, Kodnani had to resign after her arrest in the case in March 2009.
In August 2012, a special SIT court had awarded life imprisonment to then BJP MLA Maya Kodnani, Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi and 29 others for their roles in the 2002 riots here at Naroda Patia.
The massacre had taken place a day after the Godhra train burning incident of February 27, 2002. The Naroda Patia massacre case is one of the nine cases investigated by the Supreme Court appointed SIT which probed Godhra and post-Godhra riots in the year 2002.