Mumbai, May 9 (UNI) A special court here today acquitted former Maharashtra Minister of State for Home and Shiv Sena legislator, Gajanan Kirtikar and 19 others, including VHP and BJP activists, charged with instigating violence during the Mumbai riots in 1992-93, for lack of evidence.
Acquitting them, Magistrate R C Bapat Sarkar said the evidence produced before the court and the statements of the witnesses, including police personnel, did not prove the prosecution's case.
''It is a fit case for acquittal,'' he said in his order.
According to the prosecution case, on January 4,1993, the members of the Saffron alliance took out a morcha from Banderwadi in Jogeshwari in suburban Mumbai to Jogeshwari police station.
As the morcha was passing through Chacha Nagar, a minority dominated locality, the members of the morcha looted shops there.
Initially, police registered an offence and arrested few persons for the offence. Later, on the recommendation of Justice B N Srikrishna, who had probed the Mumbai riots, police sought permission from the local court for fresh investigations, following which a fresh charge sheet was filed against Kirtikar, present Standing Committee Chairman Ravindra Waikar, ex-Sena MLA Nand Kumar Kale, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Mumbai secretary Lalpa Parsad Singh and others.
All were charged for violating the prohibitory orders, issued by the commissioner, while leading the morcha to the police station. In addition, they were also charged with delivering provocative speeches and threatening members of the minority community.
The prosecution examined eight witnesses in the case, including four police personnel and four members of the minority community.
Interestingly, the members of the minority community, during the deposition in the court, could not identify any of the accused and said that they could not recollect the faces and identities of the persons involved in rioting as it was dark when the attack took place.
They were also booked under Sections 37 (3) and 39 of Bombay Police Act, various sections of the Criminal Procedure Code for instigating violence and 153 (a) of the Indian Penal Code for the conspiracy.
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