The Gujarat government will file an appeal in the Naroda Patiya massacre case to demand capital punishment for 10 convicts including Maya Kodnani, a former minister in the Narendra Modi government, and Bajrang Dal leader Babu Patel alias Bajrangi.
In August 2012, a special court in Ahmedabad had sentenced Kodnani to 28 years in jail for the massacre of 97 Muslims in Naroda Patiya on the outskirts of Ahmedabad during the post-Godhra riots of 2002. Bajrangi was sent to jail for the rest of his life.
The state government has also decided to seek an enhancement of the sentences of 22 other convicts from the ordinary ‘life term’ of 14 years to 30 years.
It will also appeal against the acquittals of seven of the 29 accused who got the benefit of doubt from the special trial court.
The government’s appeals against the trial court’s order will be filed well after the three months available for the challenge. The state will have to seek the high court’s permission to file the appeals.
Lawyers Prashant Desai, Alpesh Kogje and Gaurang Vyas will argue the appeals to Gujarat High Court. Desai will be the special public prosecutor; Kogje and Vyas will be assistant prosecutors.
Vyas, who was special assistant public prosecutor before the special trial court, told The Indian Express, “The state government’s legal department had taken a decision to file appeals in the case some time back and a resolution was also passed… The panel of three lawyers was decided yesterday.”
Three sets of appeals will be filed for the three different sets of accused, Vyas said.
Kodnani and Bajrangi are also accused in the Naroda Gam case, the verdict of which is yet to come.