Ahmedabad: After a U-turn by the Gujarat government on the death penalty for former minister Maya Kodnani and nine others, convicted in 2002 Naroda Patiya riot case, the SIT has decided to seek Supreme Court's guidance on the issue. "Very soon, we are going to file an application before the special bench of the Supreme Court apprising it about the recent Gujarat Government's decision to withdraw the sanction for filing appeal in the Naroda Patiya case," a top SIT official to PTI.
He was responding to a query whether SIT has filed a petition in the apex court in this regard or not. "We are not filing any petition because we are neither a party nor a respondent in the matter. But as we are Supreme Court appointed officers for the case we will file an application seeking judicial guidance on this matter," he said.
"We will file an application before the special bench of the apex court comprising Justices P Sathsivam, MY Iqbal and Ranjana Desai," the SIT official said. Under attack from right wing groups, the Gujarat government on Monday had said it has withheld its decision to seek death penalty for former minister Kodnani, Babu Bajrangi and eight others in the riot case.
Earlier, the state government had given its consent to Supreme Court-appointed SIT to file an appeal in the High Court seeking capital punishment for Kodnani, Bajrangi and others, who were awarded life term by a lower court. State Finance Minister and spokesperson Nitin Patel had said they have kept on hold the decision as they have to take the opinion of State Advocate General. "A final decision will be taken after advocate general gives his opinion," Patel had said.
Kodnani, who was a minister in the Modi government, was sentenced to 28 years in prison by a Special Court in August 2012 in connection with the post-Godhra riots case in which 96 people were killed. Bajrang Dal activist Babu Bajrangi was sentenced to jail for his entire life, while eight others were given 31 years' jail term each in the same case.
The Modi government's decision to seek death penalty had come under severe criticism from right wing groups. "There is a feeling that Modi is a protector of Hindus. Seeking death penalty for Kodnani and Bajrangi is a deadly attack on Hindus, who have different expectations from Modi,"an editorial in Shiv Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana' had said.