2002 riots case: Gujarat judge
resigns after transfer
The judgment in a key case related to
the 2002 Gujarat communal riots may take some time due to the
transfer of an Anand district judge a few days before she was to
pronounce the verdict last month, a lawyer said
A Gujarat court hearing the 2002 Gulberg Society killings Tuesday
rejected a plea filed by survivors of the violence seeking
arraignment of four police officers, two now retired, as accused
for negligence in stopping communal riots.
Additional Sessions Judge B.J. Dhandha rejected the plea on the
ground that the Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team
(SIT) was yet to file its report in this regard before the apex
court, therefore, the application could not be entertained at this
Sixtynine people were killed in the Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad
Feb 28, 2002.
The petitioners sought the arraignment as accused of the then
Ahmedabad police commissioner P.C. Pande, the then joint
commissioner of police M.K. Tandon, the then deputy commissioner
of police P.B. Gondia and the then assistant commissioner of
police S.S. Chudasama. Pande and Tandon have now retired.
The SIT earlier told the sessions court that there was no evidence
of dereliction of duty against Pande.
The petitioner' plea sought to make the police officers accused
for their negligence in controlling the massacre, destruction of
evidence and failure to perform their duty.
It was alleged that Pande, as the then city police chief, failed
to control the riots. "He remained sitting in office Feb 28, 2002
when the Gulberg Society was burning and large scale killing was
taking place," said the petition.
"We have proof from the telephone call CD that Pande had not
visited the areas when the city was in the grip of rioters,"
victims' advocate S.M. Vora said earlier.
He accused Chudasama of ignoring vital evidence while he was
investigating the case.
According to the petition, Chudasama failed to collect landline
telephone call records of slain former parliamentarian Ehsan
Jaffri, who made numerous requests to police, political leaders,
chief minister's office and his well wishers, when the society was
Public Prosecutor R.C. Kodekar opposed the application saying
there was no evidence on record against Pande and others. He
claimed that out of over 300 witnesses examined during the trial,
none had implicated them.