Godhra verdict: 31 convicted, 63 acquitted

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Ahmedabad, Feb 22 (ANI): A special court in Ahmedabad on Tuesday given verdict in the 2002 Godhra train burning case, convicting 31 under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and acquitting 63 of those accused.

The quantum of judgment will be announced on February 25.

Special Public Prosecutor JM Panchal said that the court upheld the decision that the burning of the train was a pre-planned conspiracy.

"The motive of the conspiracy was to set the train on fire," said Panchal.

The Court pronounced judgment on the role of over 90 people accused of conspiring and burning the S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express on February 27, 2002. Fifty-nine people, mostly Kar Sewaks returning from Ayodhya, were killed in the incident.

Following the incident, widespread communal riots broke out in various parts of Gujaratn which over 1,000 people, mostly from the minority community, were killed.

As many as 253 witnesses were examined during the trial and over 1500 documentary evidences were presented before the court by the Gujarat police.

The Supreme Court had on October 26 last year vacated its stay order in the two case, thereby paving way for the trial court to pronounce its verdict.

The apex court, however, said the trial court shall not pronounce its verdict in the case relating to the killing of former Congress MP Ehsan Jaffrey in which the Special Investigation Team (SIT) has questioned Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

The court had on May 6 last year stayed the pronouncement of judgement in the cases following allegations of botched up investigation and demand for re-constitution of SIT that had been subsequently effected pursuant to the bench's earlier direction.

Earlier on April 27, 2010, the apex court had asked the SIT, headed by former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director RK Raghavan, to probe the role of 64 people, including that of Gujarat Chief Minister Modi in the post-Godhra riots cases.

The court directive came in response to a petition filed by Zakia Jaffrey, whose husband Ehsan Jaffrey, ex-Congress MP, was killed during the Gulburg society riots along with 39 others. (ANI)

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