Dipda Darwaja massacre: 21 convicts move bail plea in HC

Twenty one convicts in the 2002 Dipda Darwaja massacre case of Mehsana district have moved regular bail petitions before Gujarat High Court (HC). On Wednesday, a division bench of HC, comprising Justice K S Jhaveri and K J Thaker, adjourned the hearing on the same for Thursday, seeking some additional documents from the petitioners.

Eleven persons were killed in the massacre reported from the Visnagar town of Mehsana district of north Gujarat on February 28, 2002. A special trial court had, in July last year, convicted 22 persons in the case, acquitting 61. Those acquitted include former BJP MLA Prahlad Gosa.

Out of the 22 convicts, 21 were convicted under the charge of attempt to murder by the trial court and condemned to life imprisonment. One accused, the then police inspector of Visnagar and first investigator of the case, M K Patel, was convicted under the charge of dereliction of duty and sentenced to one year imprisonment. Both state government and the convicts have moved appeals against the judgment, which are pending with HC.

The 21 convicts, who have been condemned to life term, have moved the regular bail petitions before HC mainly on the ground that their criminal appeals are pending before the court and it might take long for adjudication. Dipda Darwaja massacre is one of the nine 2002 post-Godhra riots cases which were investigated by Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team. The criminal trial of the case was also held in a special trial court on fast-track basis under the direction of the Supreme Court.

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