Naroda Patiya massacre case: Maya Kodnani plea to change Naroda Gam judge Jyotsana Yagnik rejected

Kodnani

Ex-minister had moved HC after the judge refused to recuse herself from the case.

The Gujarat High Court Tuesday rejected a group of petitions by three accused in the 2002 Naroda Gam massacre case, including former BJP minister Maya Kodnani, to transfer the trial of the case from the court of present trial judge, Jyotsana Yagnik.

Pronouncing the order, Justice K M Thaker observed that the designated judge was appointed by Chief Justice of High Court under the directions given by the Supreme Court and there was no material to suggest that the judge (Yagnik) would not deliver judgment fairly.

Kodnani and two others, Babu Patel alias Bajrangi and Kishan Korani, had moved the petitions.

All three have been convicted by Yagnik in the 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre case and sentenced to life imprisonment. The three are facing trial in Naroda Gam massacre also.

Earlier, Naroda Gam case's trial was being conducted in the special court of sessions judge S H Vora. However, some time back, Vora was elevated as an HC judge following which Yagnik was assigned the job of conducting trial of the Naroda Gam case by Chief Justice of HC.

Eleven persons were killed in the Naroda Gam massacre and around 82 accused are undergoing trial in the case.

The three accused had sought to transfer trial of Naroda Gam case from Yagnik's court to any other court on the ground that she had already formed an opinion on certain evidence which were identical in both the Naroda Gam and Naroda Patiya cases and therefore, that would prejudice their case in Naroda Gam case.

The three initially sought Yagnik to recuse herself from the case. When Yagnik refused, they approached the High Court.

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