DAINIK NATION BUREAU
BJP national president Amit Shah has appeared in CBI court on September 18 as a witness of Mayaben Kodnani, a minister in the Narendra Modi led Gujarat government and an accused in the 2002 Naroda Gaam massacre, without giving any fresh insight into the case. Shah is one out of 12 witnesses which kodnani has suggested in her defence.
Shah, who appeared before designated judge PB Desai, apprised the court that on the day of the massacre — February 28, 2002 — he had seen Kodnani in the state Assembly in Gandhinagar in the morning and later again at the Sola civil hospital on Ahmedabad’s outskirts.
However, he had no idea where Kodnani was from the time they left the Assembly premises and her appearance at the hospital two hours later. He also wasn’t aware of her whereabouts once they departed from the hospital around 11 am. The rioting mobs had gathered at Naroda around 10 am on that day and the violence continued till 9 pm. Legal experts said that Shah’s deposition did not support her explanation for the entire day.
Shah’s deposition is a major relief for Kodnani, who is said to be feeling abandoned by the party after conviction in one case. She is the daughter of a staunch RSS man. Observers believe the reason why the BJP president chose to stand by her today was to douse the allegation of Gujarat-riot accused being left high and dry by the party. Shah was summoned to depose on behalf of Kodnani to substantiate her alibi that at the time of the massacre she was not present at the scene and was attending the Assembly session. Kodnani then represented Naroda constituency in Ahmedabad. She had claimed that after the Assembly, she had gone to the civil hospital where the bodies of victims of the Godhra train carnage were brought. Kodnani, also a gynaecologist, claimed she later went to her private clinic in Bapunagar, Ahmedabad.
A day after the Godhra train arson, eleven Muslims were killed in the Naroda Gam area. Both Shah and Kodnani were BJP MLAs in 2002. The SIT from her call records and Assembly records had found that she was present in the Assembly in the morning from where she went to the Sola civil hospital. But while the SIT report claimed that from Sola she went to Naroda, the scene of the two massacres — Naroda-Patiya, in which 97 members of the minority community were killed, and its adjacent Naroda Gaam — Kodnani had claimed that from Sola she had gone to her clinic and was not present at the scene of the carnage.