BJP MLA and former minister in the Narendra Modi government Maya Kodnani and a Bajrang Dal leader were among 32 people convicted by a special court today in the 2002 Naroda-Patiya riots case in which more than 90 people belonging to the minority community were killed.
Additional Principal Judge Jyotsna Yagnik held Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi guilty under sections 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) and 302 (murder) of IPC in the post-Godhra riots case, while acquitting 29 others.
The quantum of sentence is likely to be announced later.
The massacre had taken place a day after the Godhra train burning incident of February 27, 2002.
On February 28, 2002 when a bandh call was given by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a large crowd gathered in the Naroda-Patiya area and attacked people belonging to minority community that resulted in the death of more than 90 people while 33 others were injured in the violence.
The trial began in August 2009 and charges were framed against 62 accused. One of the accused, Vijay Shetty, died during the course of the trial.
As many as 327 witnesses, comprising eye witnesses, victims, doctors, police personnel, government officials, forensic experts and journalists including Ashish Khetan, who conducted a TV sting operation on the accused, have been examined by the court.
Initially, 46 people were arrested by the Gujarat Police, whereas 24 more people were apprehended after the probe was handed over to the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) in 2008. In all, 70 people were arrested in the case.
Six persons died before the charges could be framed and trial started, while two others identified as Mohan Nepali and Tejas Pathak jumped bail and are still absconding.
Kodnani was arrested by the SIT when she was a minister of state for women and child development in Modi government in March 2009. She was an MLA at the time of the incident.