Ahmedabad: A special trial court here on Tuesday directed BJP President Amit Shah to appear as a witness for Maya Kodnani, a former BJP leader and minister in the then Narendra Modi government in Gujarat in a 2002 riot case in the city where 11 Muslims were killed.
Kodnani is a convict in the biggest massacre on February 28, 2002, when nearly 100 Muslims were massacred in Naroda Patiya, close to Naroda Gam, in Ahmedabad. She was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2012 but is out on bail since 2014.
The special court asked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief to appear before it on Monday, either in person or through his lawyer to testify on the alibi of Kodnani that she was not present at the place of the riots.
“The court has issued summons for September 18. The order was passed following a request of Maya Kodnani,” Amit Patel, lawyer of Kodnani, said, pointing out that she was not able to find Shah to issue him the summons.
Kodnani had moved an application before the court in April seeking testimony from the BJP President, who hails from Ahmedabad, as one of her defense witnesses. She had claimed that his testimony was crucial to prove her claim that when the riots took place, she was with him, about 10 km away from the spot of the crime, first at the Gujarat Assembly and then at the hospital she ran. After several adjournments, the court had on Monday last granted final deadline to Kodnani to bring Amit Shah to depose before the court on Friday.
The former BJP minister again sought 10 more days stating that she was unable to determine the address where she could serve summons to Amit Shah. However, the court had given time till Tuesday stating that after this, examinations of the defence witnesses would be closed. The court on Tuesday intervened to issue direct summons to Amit Shah to appear before it.