Godhra carnage: fast-track court begins proceedings

The Special Fast-Track Court trying the Godhra train carnage case of 2002, began its proceedings on Tuesday, admitting bail applications from nine of the accused in the case. Designated judge P R Patel, however, deferred hearing on the applications to June 4.

The court has been set up inside the Sabarmati Central Jail, where almost all the accused in the Sabarmati Express case are lodged. The incident had claimed 59 lives.

The police have arrested 102 people in the case so far. Of these, 82 have been kept in the Sabarmati jail. Of the rest, some secured bail and some died during the trial. A few juvenile accused are lodged in the Observation Home.

After attending the court proceedings, public prosecutor Sudhir Brahmbhatt said: "The court began its proceedings on Tuesday. Some of the accused moved bail applications, although we pleaded the court to adjourn hearing as the SIT is likely to appoint a special public prosecutor in the case soon. So, it would be proper if the new special public prosecutor argued the matter."

He added: "The court granted our plea and adjourned the hearing on all bail applications till June 4."

Two defence lawyers A A Hasan and Yusuf Charkha also attended the proceedings in which the court asked the accused to decide on their lawyers.

"The judge also asked the accused, who want legal aid from the state in their defence, to submit application for the same," Hasan said.

Relatives of some of the accused were also present during the trial. Sajid Kader, relative of one of the accused in the jail, said it is good that the trial will begin soon.

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