Bombay High Court today held 12 persons guilty in the Bilkis Bano gang-rape case, according to a PTI report. Setting aside the acquittal of 6 persons, including doctors and policemen, the Bombay HC convicted them for tampering with evidence in the case, the report says. The court, however, dismissed CBI’s appeal to enhance the punishment of certain convicts to award the death sentence, as per ANI report.
On March 17, the Bombay High Court had asked the CBI to submit details of all the convicts in the 2002 Bilkis Bano gangrape case related to the sentence prescribed to them and the period they have spent in jail so far. Notably, a division bench of Justices V K Tahilramani and Mridula Bhatkar had last year reserved its judgement on the appeals filed by 11 persons convicted in the case and also the appeal filed by the central agency seeking death penalty for three of them. The bench on March 17 had asked CBI counsel Hiten Venegaonkar to submit the details of the convicts, the sentence awarded to them and the period they have spent in jail so far. “We want the exact time period they (convicts) have already spent in jail pending trial and till date,” the bench was quoted as saying by PTI.
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A special court had on January 21, 2008 convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment 11 men for gang raping Bilkis Bano and murdering seven of her family members in the aftermath of the Godhra riots, the PTI report says. The convicts had later approached the HC and sought quashing of the trial courts order. The CBI had also filed an appeal in the HC seeking death sentence for three of the 11 convicts on the ground that they were the main perpetrators of the crime, the PTI report says. According to the prosecution, a mob had attacked Bilkis Bano’s family at Randhikpur village near Ahmedabad during the post-Godhra riots on March 3, 2002 and killed seven members, the report says.