Godhra judgement to be pronounced on Feb 19

Ahmedabad, Jan 24 (PTI) The judgement on the Godhracarnage case, where 58 people were burnt to death triggeringmassive communal riots across Gujarat, will be pronounced onFebruary 19, nearly nine years after the incident took place.

Designated judge P R Patel, who completed hearing thearguments of the prosecution and the defence in September lastyear, will pronounce the judgement on the sensitive case onFebruary 19, special public prosecutor in the case J M Panchalsaid.

After completion of the hearing in September, theSupreme Court had stayed the pronouncement of the judgement.

The stay, however, was lifted on October 26, 2010.

The trial in the case began inside the Sabarmati jailin June 2009 with framing of the charges against the 94accused who have been in the jail since 2002.

All the accused in the case have been charged withcriminal conspiracy, murder and burning the S-6 coach of theSabarmati Express train near Godhra railway station onFebruary 27, 2002 in which 58 people, mostly ''kar sevaks''returning from Ayodhya were killed.

Following the incident, widespread communal riotsbroke out in different parts of the state in which over 1,000people were killed.

Prosecution slapped POTA on the accused though it waslater revoked by the POTA Review Committee.

The Nanavati Commission appointed by the stategovernment to probe the Godhra carnage had concluded that thefire in the S6 coach was not caused by an accident but due topetrol thrown at it.

"The burning of the coach S6 was a pre-planned act. Inother words, there was a conspiracy to burn the coach ofSabarmati Express train coming from Ayodhya and to cause harmto the ''kar sevaks'' travelling in the coach," the NanavatiCommission report submitted to the state government inSeptember 2008 said.

The Commission had also exonerated Gujarat ChiefMinister Narendra Modi, his council of ministers and thepolice from any role in the Godhra train-burning incident. PTIPB PD ABC

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