The Gujarat High Court on Friday acquitted BJP leader Maya Kodnani, who was earlier convicted of organising the biggest massacre in the Gujarat riots of 2002 (Naroda Patiya riot case).
The court, however, upheld Babu Bajrangi’s life imprisonment till death.
A division bench of Justice Harsha Devani and Justice A S Supehiya had reserved the order last August after the hearing concluded.
In August 2012, a special court for SIT cases had sentenced 32 people, including former BJP minister Maya Kodnani, to life imprisonment. Kodnani was sentenced to 28 years of imprisonment.
Another high-profile accused, former Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi, was given life imprisonment till death.
Seven accused were given enhanced life imprisonment of 21 years, which they will serve after undergoing 10 years imprisonment under IPC section 326 (causing grievous hurt).
The trial court had also acquitted 29 other accused for want of evidence.
While the convicts challenged the lower courts order in the high court, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) appealed against the acquittal of 29 people.
During the course of hearing, the high court judges had visited the site of the incident in Naroda Patiya area in Ahmedabad — where 97 people from the Muslim community had been killed — to understand its topography.
Naroda Patiya riot is one of the worst incidents which followed the Godhra train burning incident of February 27, 2002, in which 59 kar sevaks were killed.
(With agency inputs)