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SC lifts stay on Guj riot cases, sets up fast-track courts.
Posted on: 01-05-2009 , 04:: | DY365 Bureau

The apex court ordered the setting up of designated courts for riot cases in Ahmedabad, Anand, Sabarkanta, Mehsana and Gulbarga districts.

A bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat said it was necessary to hold day-to-day trial considering the fact that seven years have passed.

The court took into consideration the report filed by Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by former CBI director R K Raghavan which probed the cases.

The court said the Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court will appoint expert  lawyers in criminal trial as public prosecutors for the trial of cases.

The bench said it would be open for the chairman of the SIT to seek change of public prosecutors if any deficiency was found during the trial.

Further the chairman of SIT can make a request to the Advocate General of the state on the appointment of assistant public prosecutors to assist the public prosecutors, it said.

The SIT and its chairman will keep track of the trial and file quarterly report to the apex court.

The apex court also gave liberty to the SIT to recommend the cancellation of bail if it is considered necessary. Expressing "happiness" over the court's order, Raghavan said, "I think it is going to facilitate the work of the SIT in Gujarat. I look forward to further work in that direction."

He said, "It is very humbling to know that the apex court has so much trust in me" and added that the court wanted him to ensure that witnesses were given due protection.

Earlier on April 27, the apex court had asked the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the role of 64 people, including that of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the cases.

The apex court order was passed in response to a petition filed by Congress parliamentarian Ehsaan Jaffery.

The court asked the SIT to submit the report within three months.

The order came over two months after Gujarat High Court Judge AS Dave declined to hear a SIT petition that challenged the anticipatory bail granted to State Minister Maya Kodnani and the former VHP leader Jaydeep Patel in connection with the Godhra case.

The SIT had moved the Gujarat High Court and challenged the anticipatory bail granted by a lower court to Kodnani and Patel, in the post-Godhra and Naroda Gram riot cases.

The apex court had constituted a five-member SIT to re-investigate the post-Godhra communal riots.

The SIT is reinvestigating into nine post- Godhra riot cases and was expected to submit its report to the apex court by February 15.

Several prominent leaders like, Maya Kodnani of BJP and Jaydeep Patel of Vishwa Hindu Parishad are at the center of investigation, following many witnesses naming them in their statements in the Naroda Gam riot case.

The SIT had filed a 300-page supplementary chargesheet against 24 people in the Naroda Gam case in which 11 people, belonging to the minority community, were killed by a mob during the riots.

The accused include Fula Vyas of VHP, local BJP leader Jitendra Patel and ex-BJP municipal councilor Ashok Patel.

The SIT has also filed a second charge sheet in Naroda Patiya case against 15 accused, where over 80 people were killed during the Godhra riots.


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