The Special Investigation Team (SIT), formed by the Supreme Court to probe Gujarat riots cases, has opposed jailed former state minister Maya Kodnani’s petition in the Gujarat High Court to summon Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah along with seven others to help establish that she was not at the scene of 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre, reports the Indian Express. The SIT said that Kodnani’s petition is “a result of an afterthought and has been filed after a gap of four years to delay the proceedings”. Justifying its stand, the SIT argued that the appeal petitions in the case were filed in 2012 and the division bench started the hearing in December 2016.
Maya Kodnani, who is an accused in the Naroda Gam massacre case linked to the 2002 post-Godhra riots, had sought to call Shah and others as defence witnesses to prove she was not at the scene of the deadly eruption of violence when the massacre took place. The seven others whom Kodnani wanted to be summoned as witnesses are former BJP MLA Amrish Patel, Jagdish Patel, Lakhabhai Rathod, Dhaval Shah, Dhiraj Rathod, M D Lakhiya and Kantibhai Solanki. A gynaecologist by profession, Kodnani has moved her petition under Section 391 of The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) that empowers a court, “if it thinks additional evidence to be necessary, shall record its reasons.” The appellate court “either take such evidence itself or direct it to be taken by a magistrate”. Also, the petition has cited the provision of CrPC Section 311, which has provision for summoning material witness.
WATCH | PM Narendra Modi presents new India vision at NITI Aayog meet
However, the Gujarat HC sought to know the SIT’s stand to summon them. The team argued that Kodnani’s petition cannot be entertained. The court is expected to hear detailed arguments from both sides on Tuesday.