Appearing before a sessions court in Ahmedabad as Maya Kodnani’s witness in 2002 Naroda Gam riots case on Monday, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah said that Kodnani was not present in Naroda Gam on the day the riots broke out.
“Maya Kodnani was present at the Assembly on February 28, 2002, at 8:30 a.m. along with other members to pay tribute to those who had died in the Godhra rail incident,” said Shah, and further stated that he had also seen her later at the Sola Civil Hospital around 11:00 a.m.
A day before the Naroda Gam riots, Sabarmati Express was allegedly torched at the Godhra railway station.
“From 9:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., I was at the Sola Civil Hospital, and I remember seeing Jaideep Patel and other leaders. I met Maya Kodnani, while leaving the hospital around 11:00-11:30 a.m. The enraged public had surrounded us, so the police cordoned both of us out in the same jeep,” Shah said.
He also said that he learnt about the Godhra incident when the home minister announced it in the assembly.
Regarding the notification issued by Special Investigation Team (SIT) asking witnesses to come out and give their statement, Shah said, “I neither received any summons, nor was asked by SIT if I was present with Maya on the day of the incident.”
However, he also admitted that he was aware of SIT’s public notification.
Meanwhile, Shamshad Pathan, the advocate arguing against Maya Kodnani questioned why the BJP president remained silent in these nine years when he knew about the notification.
“The SIT had sent a notification in the public domain that if anybody having right information regarding the case can approach the SIT. He knew about the notification but never approached the SIT in these 9 years,” Pathan told media, after session at the court ended.
He also pointed out a loophole in Shah’s statement during the cross-examination.
According to Pathan, Amit Shah claimed to have seen Kodnani at the Assembly at 8:30 a.m. and then at the Sola Civil Hospital around 11:00 a.m., which indicates, that he doesn’t know where she was after leaving assembly and before arriving at the hospital.
“Maya had said that she went to her clinic in her own car after leaving the Sola Civil hospital, which contradicts with Shah’s statement that both were cordoned out in a police jeep,” added Pathan.
He also said that most of the witnesses of Maya Kodnani are proving to have given false statements.
The former minister of state for Women and Child Development in the Government of Gujarat, Maya Kodnani, has been accused of involvement in the Naroda Gam riots that broke out on February 28, 2002, killing 11 Muslims.
In her defence, Kodnani had stated that she was not present in Naroda Gam when the riots broke out.
Kodnani has also been sentenced to life imprisonment in the Naroda Patiya massacre case wherein 97 Muslims were killed.