Naroda Patiya massacre: Court convicts CM Narendra Modi's former minister Maya Kodnani
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Maya Kodnani, BJP MLA and a former minister in Narendra Modi government, and a Bajrang Dal leader were among the 32 people convicted today by a special court on charges of conspiracy and murder in the Naroda Patiya case in which 97 Muslims were burnt alive during 2002 Gujarat riots.
Kodnani, a three-time MLA from Naroda area who was considered to be close to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, is the first woman to be convicted in a post-Godhra riots case.
She and Babu Bajrangi were held guilty under sections 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) of IPC and the prosecution sought the maximum punishment of death sentence for all the convicts.
The 57-year-old MLA broke down in court as Additional Principal Judge Jyotsna Yagnik read out her verdict in which she also acquitted 29 other accused.
The court, which heard arguments on the quantum of sentence, will decide on the punishment on August 31.
Kodnani and the other accused, who have been on bail, were taken into custody and shifted to Sabarmati Jail.
The Congress latched on to the verdict to target Modi with party leader Digvijay Singh saying that it "has been proved now that BJP's minister and officials were involved in the Gujarat riots. Everything that happened was at the behest of Narendra Modi."
Law Minister Salman Khurshid said that the judgement enhances faith of the people in the legal system.
While the BJP downplayed the conviction of its MLA saying it was legal process and it doesn't do "politics on judicial verdicts", the Gujarat government was quick to distance itself from Kodnani saying she was not a Minister when the riots took place and dismissed demand for Modi's resignation.