The Gujarat High Court has acquitted former BJP minister Maya Kodnani in the 2002 Naroda Patiya riots case in which 97 people were killed by a mob. The court, however, upheld the conviction of former Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi in the case.
Naroda Patiya riots were often termed one of the worst incidents of communal violence triggered by the Godhra train burning.
A division bench of Justices Harsha Devani and AS Supehiya pronounced the verdict. The bench said charges against Kodnani could not be established. Bajrangi, whose conviction was uhpeld by the court, was named one of the conspirators in the case.
In August 2012, a special court for SIT cases had sentenced 32 people, including Kodnani, to life imprisonment. Kodnani was sentenced to 28 years of imprisonment, while Bajrangi was given life imprisonment till death.
The high court had later reduced it to 21 years rigorous imprisonment. The trial court had sentenced seven other accused to 31 years rigorous imprisonment, while 22 others were given 24 years in jail.
Twenty nine others were acquitted in the case. Kodnani is currently on bail, while Bajrangi is in jail.
The rioting took place on February 28, 2002, in the Naroda Patiaya area of Ahmedabad where a mob killed 97 people. The massacre took place a day after the torching of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra.
(With inputs from PTI)