Gujarat HC bench recuses itself from Naroda Patiya riots case

A file photo of BJP MLA and former minister in the state government, Maya Kodnani (CL) being escorted by police on her arrival at special court in Ahmedabad on 31 August 2012. Photo: AFP
Ahmedabad: A two-member Gujarat high court bench consisting of justice M.R. Shah and justice K.S. Jhaveri recused itself on Wednesday from hearing appeals on the Naroda Patiya case dating back to the 2002 riots on the grounds that some of the convicts tried to approach them.
The matter involved appeals by 29 convicts, including the former Bharatiya Janata Party minister Maya Kadnani and Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajarangi, who were sentenced to life imprisonment by a special trial court in 2012. They challenged the conviction by the special trial court.
The two judges, withdrawing themselves from hearing of the appeals, said some convicts tried to approach them, without naming any.
The Naroda Patiya case involved the killing of 97 people during the 2002 communal riots sparked by the burning of a coach of the Sabarmati Express near Godhra town, in which 59 people returning from Ayodhya were killed.
A special trial court in August 2012 convicted 31 people and awarded life terms to 30, including Kodnani, for killings and criminal conspiracy. It awarded imprisonment till death to Bajrangi.
Kodnani and another convict were granted bail in this case last year.