Court acquits 48 accused in post-Godhra riots case

A civil and sessions court on Friday acquitted 48 accused in four cases of rioting and arson for the lack of evidence in connection with the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Vatva area of Ahmedabad city.

The Detection of Crime Branch officials of Ahmedabad had arrested 58 accused in this case. The trial in this connection had started in 2009.

Sessions Judge M K Dave, giving the benefit of doubt to the all the 48 accused in the case said the prosecution failed to prove the charges against the accused with enough evidences.

Among the acquitted are couple of Vishwa Hindu Parishad members including Arun Chandubhai Patel. According to Nilesh Lodha, a defense lawyer, Patel was acquitted since his own garage was gutted down during the riots.

According to Lodha, there were 28 witnesses in the case whose were robbed and their houses burnt. However, apart from four of them, all other witnesses turned hostile. He said many of the victims told the court that they couldn't identify who were there in the mob.

During the riots, a mob of 4,000 to 5,000 had gutted down several units in Vatva industrial area of GIDC as well.

Around 1,200 innocent people had lost their lives while property worth crores of rupees had sustained damages in one of the ghastly communal violence broke out in the state in 2002.

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