Case Against Maya Kodnani, Convicted In 2002 Riots, Has Gaping Holes — Part I

First posted on September 4, 2017, at

Dr Maya Kodnani was sentenced to 28 years in prison by a special trial judge for “masterminding” the riots in Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gam areas in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, in 2002. It is highly likely that Kodnani, and others, may have been framed for political reasons, while those who were guilty got away. Here’s why.

On 31 August 2012, Jyotsna Yagnik, the special trial judge, pronounced a 28-year prison sentence against Dr Maya Kodnani for “masterminding” one of the bloodiest episodes of communal violence in Ahmedabad on 28 February 2002. This judgement led to widespread jubilation in the mainstream media, orchestrated by the “secular brigade” allied to the Congress and the left parties. Kodnani was serving as a minister for women and child development in Narendra Modi’s government from 2007. So a jail term for one of Modi’s ministers gave a big boost to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, making them believe that this would pave the way for getting at Modi himself, who was then chief minister of Gujarat.

As in the case of Lt Col Shrikant Purohit’s incarceration, none in the media examined the case with care. Purohit was implicated in the Malegaon blasts case even though the evidence that he was aiding “saffron terrorism” was thin. The mainstream media simply reproduced the UPA-orchestrated narrative without questioning the evidence in Purohit’s case.                                                      

Maya Kodnani in white saree being arrested by the police

However, after discovering some evidence of mala fide intent in Purohit’s case, I decided to personally examine Kodnani’s case as well. The motivation for it came from reading the judgment of Judge Yagnik, who did not accept large parts of the evidence proffered in favour of Kodnani. For this purpose, I went and met Kodnani’s family in Ahmedabad about two years ago, and examined the evidence marshalled against her as well as the evidence Kodnani had put forward in her defence.

Now that my 2014 exposé regarding Purohit’s case has been vindicated and even parts of the mainstream media have accepted that the UPA government was less than fair with him by jailing and torturing a serving army officer, I hope readers will follow the details of Kodnani’s case with an open mind and judge the case on merit.

Incarceration of Maya Kodnani on Fake Charges: Kodnani was convicted under Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code, which reads as follows:

Whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence punishable with death, 2*[imprisonment for life] or rigorous imprisonment for a term of two years or upwards, shall where no express provision is made in this Code for the punishment of such a conspiracy, be punished in the same manner as if he had abetted such offence.

In other words, Kodnani was indicted for having “masterminded” the killings and mayhem committed on 28 February 2002 in Ahmedabad’s Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gam areas following the Godhra train carnage of 27 February 2002. After two years of incarceration, she managed to secure bail on 31 July 2014 on grounds of serious illnesses and the severe depression she developed while in jail.

Subjected to lethal medical treatment: Kodnani’s husband, Surendra Kodnani, who is himself a doctor, told me that “the treatment given to her in jail indicates as though the authorities were out to kill her.” For instance, she was given three Electroconvulsive therapies (ECTs) in prison without her family’s permission. Such therapy involves the outmoded technique of giving electric shocks to the patient as a treatment for severe depression. Needless to say, the treatment did her more harm than good. Her husband put his foot down when he got to know about the plan to subject her to a fourth ECT. He said, “What if she dies given her fragile health? Who would take responsibility for her death?”

The most fundamental principle of criminal jurisprudence followed in India and most civilised countries is that a person is assumed innocent till proven guilty. But, in the case of Kodnani, Judge Yagnik appears to have shown no such consideration in her 1,969-page-long judgment.

How Maya Kodnanai was Targeted by Teesta Setalvad Gang: Kodnani was a well-known practising gynaecologist and used to live in the Naroda Patiya area of Ahmedabad. She belongs to the Sindhi community. Her family had come as refugees from the province of Sind in what came to be known as Pakistan after the partition of 1947. She and her doctor husband, Surendra Kodnani, ran a private Hospital in an area that is inhabited largely by working-class Hindus and Muslims. In this constituency, Muslims are concentrated in two areas – Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gam.

Kodnani’s father was a school teacher who retired as a principal in the Banaskantha district of Gujarat. Since her father also happened to be a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh worker, she too was nurtured by Sangh sanskar (values). This made her an easy target for demonisation by “left secular” non-governmental organisations (NGOs), particularly the one led by Teesta Setalvad, who played a leading role in filing Gujarat riot cases on behalf of Muslims.

Kodnani started her political career in 1995 when she was elected as a municipal corporator on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket as part of the 33 per cent quota reserved for women. However, the ticket was given to her as much for being a popular doctor in the Naroda area, where she had started her medical practice in 1988. Since she had established a good rapport with the people in her area, she won her maiden election to become a corporator with a comfortable margin. In 1998, she won her first election as a member of the legislative assembly (MLA) with a margin of 85,000 votes. It was then one of the biggest assembly constituencies (later divided and made smaller) with 450,000 voters covering an area of 23 kilometres.

She won her second assembly election in 2002 with a still bigger margin of 1.15 lakh votes. The third assembly election in 2007 saw her win with an even larger margin of 1.81 lakh votes. It was after the 2007 election that she became a minister in Modi’s cabinet. By all accounts, she was a popular leader with a strong mass base in her constituency, which had a sizeable Muslim population, especially in the direct vicinity of her private Hospital in Naroda Patiya. The Muslims of that area were not just her voters; they were also a sizeable proportion of the patients, and she had overseen the birth of numerous Muslim children in the area. In fact, the Muslim vote had played an important role in each of her elections since 1995. Thus, the image of a rabid Muslim-hater, propagated assiduously by “secular” NGOs and magazines like Tehelka, not to speak of the Congress party, was far from reality.

A medical doctor who has attended to countless Muslim women and delivered their babies is not the kind of person who would go around butchering people on the streets.

Another telltale sign is that Kodnani was made an accused six years after the 2002 riots. If she was a conspirator, one wonders why her name never came up in the immediate aftermath of 2002.

There are several noteworthy aspects to the charges levelled against Kodnani. Her name was not mentioned in any of the complaints or first information reports (FIRs) filed in 2002 when a majority of the cases – both genuine and false – were registered. NGOs like the one run by Setalvad and Javed Anand had played a leading role in filing cases. As described by Modi himself in my book, Modi, Muslims and Media, the Gujarat government had been forced to relax all the rules regarding registration of cases due to the hysteria created by NGOs. The normal procedure is that complainants have to go personally to a police station to register complaints or FIRs. But making concessions for the traumatised condition of the riot victims, the Gujarat government enabled the victims to register their FIRs in relief camps by posting the concerned police officers in the camps.

To quote Modi from an interview I conducted in 2013 (translated from Hindi):

“For relief and rehabilitation work, I set up a committee headed by the Governor. This is the first time in the history of India that after a riot any state government made the State Governor in charge of this job. The Committee also had NGO representatives as well as Leader of the Opposition, ex-Chief Minister, representatives of Chambers of Commerce. It had about 15 members in all and the quantum of relief was decided under the Chairmanship of the Governor. This has never happened before in India. Again, it was for the first time ever that I set up a Committee of three former women judges to sit in the police station for registering complaints of women victims. Normally people must go to the police station to register FIRs. But my government made special arrangements for registering FIRs in the relief camps itself (because NGOs had made a case that the riot victims would be too traumatised to go to police stations to register their FIRs). Special camps for FIRs were also set up in the Circuit House as well as in the Government Guest House.

“The law of the land says that a police FIR should be handwritten (now they can be also be recorded on the computer). But almost all the FIRs filed under the aegis of these NGOs are xeroxes – which is in itself illegal. These NGOs made a common template for registering FIRs and got it xeroxed. They then simply filled in the name and location of the concerned person. Even today, the law doesn’t allow for a xerox FIR anywhere in the country. But in Gujarat, thousands of cases that were filed were all xeroxes with a set pattern of complaints.

“Certain NGOs had hired full-time staff to get these xeroxed forms filled. (The complaints were not written by the victims but by the hired staff of NGOs). The law of the land demands that a complainant has to go personally to the police station to lodge an FIR. But I allowed FIRs to be registered in relief camps plus those set up in Circuit House, etc, because I did not want that injustice should be done to anyone. My job as CM was to control the riot, to help the affected people and to ensure that those treated unjustly should get justice.”

NGOs working at the behest of the Congress party and some elements within the Muslim community took advantage of this situation by xeroxing (making copies) in bulk a standard form for registering complaints in which victims were asked to fill any name they chose as the accused. They were even instigated to settle old personal scores and name not just the real culprits but all and sundry among the BJP cadre.

Even so, in 2002, none had mentioned Kodnani’s name as an accused or accomplice in the riots, leave alone implicate her as a “mastermind”. Therefore, not a single FIR was filed with Kodnani’s name as an accused. Her name suddenly cropped up when the Congress party came to power a second time, and the Supreme Court admitted public interest litigation filed by Setalvad and Zakia Jafri, wife of Ehsan Jafri, to appoint a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the role of Modi along with all senior bureaucrats and cabinet ministers in allegedly instigating the 2002 riots. It is at this time that witnesses were mobilised by Setalvad to name Kodnani as a prime accused in the 2002 riots because by then Kodnani was a minister in Modi’s cabinet. It is unprecedented in the history of criminal jurisprudence anywhere in the world that six years after an alleged crime, the judiciary orders the police to file an FIR against an individual who had never been accused of any wrongdoing previously; nor was there any mention of hers before the Inquiry Commission headed by Justice G T Nanavati.

Rais Khan

All of a sudden, 11 witnesses accused her of “masterminding” the riot. Rais Khan, the right-hand man of Setalvad for collecting evidence from riot victims, told me in a recorded video interview that Setalvad made innumerable Muslims file false affidavits. In many cases, the complainants did not even know what was written on their behalf. Most of these false witnesses could not hold on to their claims during cross-examination. The testimonies of 11 residents of Naroda Patiya, who testified against Kodnani, may well have collapsed but for the willingness of Judge Yagnik to humour their evidence. Khan also alleged that Setalvad paid a monthly allowance as well as lump-sum amounts to most of the witnesses. The role played by Setalvad in influencing the political narrative of the 2002 riots is worth hearing in the words of Khan. (Watch video interview here and here.)

Why Kodnani appears to be falsely implicated: If we examine the schedule of Kodnani on a fateful day and compare it to the charges on which she has been booked, it seems likely that some of the testimonies of witnesses can be doubted.

On 28 February 2002, the day the riots broke out in Ahmedabad and several other places in Gujarat, Kodnani’s movements are easy to track for the crucial part of the day because there is audio-visual evidence of her presence at key places; on the other hand, there is flimsy and mutually contradictory evidence by way of statements of witnesses vouching for her presence in places where she allegedly instigated riotous mobs.

Kodnani’s presence in the state assembly is recorded in the video footage of the day’s proceedings. She left home at around 7.45 am to attend the special session of the assembly called to pay tribute to those karsevaks who were burnt alive the previous day at Godhra. The footage shows that the session started at 8.30 am and concluded at 8.40 am. The time is established by the fact that the camera pans to the wall clock in the assembly just as the shraddhanjali meeting ends. The clock shows the time to be 8.40 am. In that very shot, Kodnani is visible as one of the participants of that meeting. (Here is the video.)

This meeting took place in the hall on the second floor of the secretariat. Thereafter, Kodnani came down with MLA Amrish Patel of Asarwa. The SIT accepted Patel’s statement about having walked down with Kodnani after the 8.40 am meeting, but Judge Yagnik did not call him to court to testify even though he was charge-sheeted as a witness. Yagnik declined to summon Patel, saying it is the right of the prosecution to call who they want as a witness. While it is indeed the prosecution’s privilege to summon whoever they think to be essential to prove their case, the accused also has the right to include a witness who endorses her version to prove the version of the prosecution to be malafide. Kodnani insisted on Patel’s testimony and asked that he be brought in as a court witness. But the judge overruled her plea.

Back to that morning, Kodnani came down in an elevator and walked down all the way to a distant car park to drive her private car – a Maruti Esteem. As an MLA in 2002, (she was not a minister at that time) she was not entitled to a chauffeur-driven car. But Judge Yagnik had this to say in her judgment: “She, being minister, she must have been escorted; the area must have been cleared for her”. But the fact is, Kodnani become a minister only in 2007. In 2002, she was just an MLA and, therefore, not entitled to a police escort.

Kodnani probably left the Vidhan Sabha premises around 9.15 am because it took her that much time to go down the assembly building and walk through the car park to reach her vehicle. From there, she went to Sola Hospital in the Sarkhej area, which is situated on the Gandhinagar highway. This is the Hospital where all the dead bodies of the Godhra-Sabarmati Express carnage had been brought. The special reason for her visit to Sola Hospital was that three persons from her neighbourhood had been burnt alive in the train fire. One of them was the father of a nurse employed in her hospital. She wanted to help nurse Lata and others of her neighbourhood to get the bodies released from the hospital expeditiously.

CCTV and media recordings at Sola Hospital: Kodnani reached Sola Hospital around 10 am covering a distance of about 22km from Gandhinagar Vidhan Sabha – almost at the same time as Amit Shah arrived there separately. They were confronted with a mob of angry Hindus outraged at the brutal way in which a Muslim mob had stoned and allegedly set fire to a bogie full of karsevaks. The Hindu mob at the Hospital surrounded her and Shah – both of whom were pushed around and abused. But they managed to enter and get the doctors to expedite the release of dead bodies to the relatives.

As they came out of the Hospital escorted by a police inspector, the crowd was still agitated and unruly. This is also recorded in the video footage of various media persons who were covering that morning’s happenings at the Hospital. (See video here.)

Given the mood of the mob and realising that it was not safe for her to travel alone in her car, both Shah and Kodnani left their respective vehicles behind. Instead, they travelled together in a police jeep. Some party workers followed the jeep in Kodnani’s car. Inspector Lathia, who was on duty at Sola Hospital, gave instructions to his driver, Kantibhai Solanki, to drop Kodnani and Shah at a safe place. She was dropped at RTO circle, Shahibagh, while Shah got off earlier at Gotha Chowkadi.

Judge Yagnik did not call either Shah or Solanki as witnesses. It is only recently, after her appeal, that Kodnani was allowed to call witnesses who have the evidence to corroborate her innocence. These witnesses might well have contradicted the charge that from 8.30 am to 10.30 am, Kodnani was instigating mobs at Naroda Patiya.

The news of Kodnani’s visit to Sola Hospital and the hostile response she received there was carried all day by Sandesh TV channel on 1 March 2002. This evidence was put before the court, but Judge Yagnik did not take it into consideration. Even the 7 pm Doordarshan news bulletin had given coverage to the Sola incident. In this video recording, Kodnani is shown going in at about 10 am and coming out of the Hospital with a policeman. But none of this impressed Judge Yagnik.

Simple logistics go against the logic of the judgment: It is noteworthy that the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha and Sola Hospital are 22km apart. And from Sola to Naroda Patiya through the crowded city, the distance is another 23km. In 2002, there was no express highway between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. Therefore, vehicular movement between the two cities on the old two-lane road was much slower. Even city roads were not as good as they became later. If the court tried to reconstruct the events of the day, it could well have developed doubts about whether Kodnani could have been sighted at Naroda Patiya at 8.30 am, or even 9.30 am or 10.30 am, as claimed by all the 11 witnesses. Since there is video evidence that till 8.40 am she was in the assembly hall, there is no way she could have gone to Sola, spent some time there and yet be present in Naroda Patiya between 8.30 am and 10.30 am.

Mobile phone records also ignored: Similarly, mobile phone records placed before the court by the prosecution show her location at Sola Hospital from 10 am onwards. Likewise, the phone records prepared by the police officer J S Gedam, who was deputed to the SIT, showed that Kodnani’s mobile number was nowhere close to Naroda Patiya till 12.37 pm. These were placed before the court, but Judge Yagnik discounted the validity of that piece of evidence by saying that since the bill of that mobile phone was being paid by the BJP office, “we can’t be sure if Mayaben was personally using that phone”. The analysis of phone call details from 27 February to 4 March was available, but the court did not check if Kodnani was using that phone or not.

The kingpin of conspiracy but not part of “unlawful assembly”: On that particular day, large parts of Gujarat were burning. Most others accused of involvement in the riots have been punished under section 149B (being part of unlawful assembly). Even though Judge Yagnik gave Kodnani the benefit of doubt under the charge of ‘unlawful assembly’ because her presence could not be established beyond a reasonable doubt, yet she called her the “kingpin of the conspiracy”. One wonders how Kodnani could instigate a murderous mob if her very presence as part of that unlawful assembly could not be established.

NGO-propped witnesses: Now let us look at the evidence brought forth by Setalvad through 11 witnesses.

1) Amina Abbas: While Abbas was an inmate in the Shah Alam camp, she was interviewed by Setalvad for a special issue of Communalism Combat (CC), of which Setalvad is the owner-editor. The issue was titled ‘Genocide’. This bizarre exaggeration and overstatement itself shows the provocative slant of the CC team. The killing of 863 Muslims and 262 Hindus in the week-long riots of 2002 can be termed a “genocide” of Muslims only by someone keen on promoting a persecution complex among an already volatile minority. (The death tally has been vetted by the Supreme Court-monitored SIT.)

Coming back to Abbas’s story, in the entire interview, she doesn’t once name Kodnani as the one responsible for or as an instigator of riots in Naroda Patiya. And yet in 2008, for the first time, she alleges that at 8.30 am, Kodnani came with her personal assistant to Naroda Patiya and got off from her car in front of Noorani Masjid to instigate the mob to riot. Abbas goes on to say that because she was wearing her work uniform – that of a security guard – the mob took her to be a policewoman. She claimed to have heard Kodnani say, “Maro, kato (kill them, cut them up).” Thereafter, Kodnani allegedly fired a pistol shot and left.

Abbas’s testimony appears questionable for these reasons:

As mentioned earlier, till at least 8.40 am, Kodnani was in the assembly and took at least 20 minutes to reach her car and drive out. Naroda Patiya is at least 45km from the assembly. There is no way Kodnani could have been in two places at the same time unless someone saw her clone.

Abbas’s normal “service hours” used to be from 3 pm to 10 pm. On 27 February, seeing the disturbed atmosphere following the Godhra train massacre and the bandh call given by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the BJP, the owner of the establishment where Abbas worked had declared the establishment closed on 28 February. So what was Abbas doing in her service uniform that early morning, much before her duty hours? The response of ordinary citizens who do not wish to be part of mob violence is to stay away and not go snooping to hear who said what to whom.

Kodnani has never had any weapons licence and, as an MLA, she was not likely to have carried an unlicensed weapon. All through the trial, no attempt was made to recover the revolver allegedly used by Kodnani.

On that morning, the police did not escort Kodnani, as deposed by Abbas. As an MLA, she was not entitled to a police escort.

In her deposition, Abbas doesn’t explain how she came to be included as a witness in this case. In fact, the answer she gave is in itself suspicious: “I don’t remember who called me, or who took me to Gandhi Nagar. All I remember is that I sent an application to SIT saying, ‘I have some important information to give regarding Naroda Patiya’.” That is why the SIT just recorded her statement, but it did not subject it to scrutiny or verification. In her cross-examination, it became apparent that after Abbas appeared against Kodnani, she accompanied Setalvad on several foreign trips. She used to be a small-scale money-lender in the area before the 2002 riots. But ever since she made common cause with Setalvad, she has become a jet-setter.

One-line testimonies of this kind have been taken at face value and used to send Kodnani to 28 years in jail even when she has strong evidence to support her non-involvement.

2) Dildaar Umrao: The second main witness in the case said, “Madam came around 11.45 am, stopped her car near Panchwati Estate. From there she signalled her workers to come near her. Thereafter she opened her car dickey and took out swords and other weapons which she distributed among her party workers.” However, between 2002 and 2008, Umrao had given testimonies to four or five other agencies before giving this statement to SIT. In none of the earlier statements did he implicate Kodnani. Like the others, he too mentions her name for the first time in 2008.

Umrao is also a close associate of Setalvad and has accompanied her for several meetings in Delhi and elsewhere. He used to work as a kabaadi (buyer and seller of junk and waste products). But after meeting with Setalvad, he stopped that work.

3) Abdul Majeed: Majeed was the third important witness. He had lost five members of his family in the riots. He too gave statements to the police and to the Crime Branch, etc, soon after the riots in 2002. But he too had never named Kodnani in any of his earlier statements to different agencies.

The rest of the eight witnesses merely described her presence in different locations. They echo what Abbas said about Kodnani having called her party workers and told them to go on a killing spree. They all claim that they saw her addressing a mob of 15,000 to 17,000 persons. Two of the witnesses had said that she stopped near the gate of the ST workshop at Naroda Patiya, spoke with the police Inspector, K K Mysorewala, gave him some instructions and drove away.

In all, 200 Muslim witnesses were examined in this case. Out of 200, only 11 spoke of Kodnani’s presence. (And none of these 11 even mentioned her name prior to 2008. It took them a good six-and-a-half years after the actual events to implicate Kodnani.) None of the other 200 witnesses mentions anything about Kodnani, leave alone she distributing weapons to the mob. If she had indeed publicly distributed weapons and fired gunshots, surely this merited more witnesses.

Contradictions in witness accounts: Many of the witnesses contradict each other about the time and place at which they spotted her. They also give contrary descriptions of whether the person accompanying her was her personal assistant or her driver. If they had actually spotted Kodnani, the description of the person who allegedly accompanied her should have been similar, if not identical. The court of Yagnik did not cross-question these witnesses for giving contradictory statements about the person allegedly accompanying Kodnani.

The first FIRs had mentioned five accused by name and described a mob of 15,000-17,000 that went on a rampage. Out of the five accused that were named from day one, three have been acquitted even though the police, as well as the Crime Branch, said in their depositions before the court that there were five main instigators of violence against whom several Muslim witnesses had testified.

It is noteworthy that none of the journalists covering the Naroda Patiya massacre ever named Kodnani when their reports were published during the riots or even weeks or months after the killings. As said earlier, even Setalvad’s Communalism Combat did not name her in its special issue of March 2002. And yet she was treated as a “kingpin” of the riots by Judge Yagnik.

Police inspector Mysorewala, who had accompanied her on 28 February 2002, did come and testify before the court that Kodnani did not come anywhere near the murderous mob on that fateful day.

Her phone location, as per mobile tower records, shows that she came to Naroda Patiya at around 12.37 pm. That is the time she came to her Hospital building, where her MLA’s office was also located. Her office is barely 500 metres from the site where the murders took place. But not a single witness claimed to have seen her at 12.37 pm.

Contradictions in the Naroda Patiya case: Judge Yagnik was also given charge of the Naroda Gam killings. This village is about 2.5km from Naroda Patiya. In the Naroda Gam case, the same five witnesses who testified about her presence in Naroda Patiya said that Kodnani was in Naroda Gam from 10:00 am to 10.30 am – the very time she was at Sola Hospital. Judge Yagnik could have checked whether the same five people could have witnessed Kodnani’s presence in two places 2.5km apart. The normal response of members of a community under attack is to run for shelter and not to shadow the alleged leader of a murderous mob.

Four witnesses allege that she came and communicated through certain signs to the 8,000-10,000-strong mob and then gave a fiery speech and left. One witness went on to say that she took out a volatile liquid from her car dickey and gave it to the mob. The Naroda Gam case was handed over to Judge K K Bhatt after Yagnik retired.

‘Senior officials’ testimonies ignored: The first defence witness from Kodnani’s side was executive magistrate Dheeraj Lakhabhai Rathode. However, because he had deposed in favour of Kodnani’s version in the Naroda Gam case, Judge Yagnik dropped him from the Naroda Patiya case and discounted his testimony. This, despite the fact that he was on duty at Sola Hospital on 28 February morning and confirmed Kodnani’s presence at the hospital from about 10:00 am onwards. Given that magistrate Rathode’s testimony is backed by video-recorded evidence, Yagnik’s decision to not include his testimony seems questionable.

The second witness in favour of Kodnani was yet another executive magistrate, Kantibhai Bhikhabhai Soni. Since he too confirmed Kodnani’s presence at Sola (as recorded on video) in the Naroda Gam case, he too was dropped in the Naroda Patiya case, even though he was a prosecution witness.

The third witness, police inspector Mansukh Lathia, gave his statement before the SIT for both the Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gam cases. But he could not depose in court because, by the time Yagnik was handed charge of the case in 2008, he had migrated to and settled down in the United States. He could have easily been summoned or cross-examined through video conference, but this was not done. He was the one who sent his driver Kantibhai Solanki to drop Kodnani at a safe place.

It is noteworthy that the driver Solanki deposed in the Naroda Gam case but he too was not called for the Naroda Patiya case. He was the one who had dropped Kodnani at RTO circle, where she got her car that had followed the police jeep. From there she had gone to the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, where some of the injured persons in the Godhra train as well as those injured during the riots of 28 February morning were being brought in. There she met the MLA of the area, Amrish Patel.

Thereafter, she drove to her own Hospital to attend to an emergency delivery, which is also part of the Hospital record. Between 3.30 pm and 3.45 pm, Kodnani left her hospital and went back to Civil Hospital. The Superintendent of this hospital, Dr Anil Chaddha, is a witness and issued a statement before the SIT that Kodnani had come and met him to enquire about the patients. This person too was dropped from the Naroda Patiya case even though he was a charge-sheeted witness.

From Civil Hospital, Kodnani came back home and stayed there till the next morning. Her mobile phone records confirm all of these locations.

On the other hand, not a single video or audio recording has been produced to authenticate Kodnani’s participation in the killings. Her presence at Naroda Patiya would mean that she traversed the long distance from the Vidhan Sabha, which she left at about 9 am for Sola Hospital, and then came to Naroda Patiya, travelling a distance of about 45km in a self-driven car, distributing weapons, delivering speeches at three places, including Sola, all in a matter of an hour, that too at a time when Ahmedabad roads were poor and there were two railway crossings en route.

Kodnani’s video-recorded behaviour and body language are revealing. The facts point to a totally different persona. Though Kodnani is shown on video being jostled around and yelled at by angry relatives and others who had gathered at Sola Hospital, she doesn’t speak a word, leave alone instigate the angry relatives. Instead, she quietly slips out. If she was in a mood to provoke the already agitated crowds, Sola was a good place to do so. But she maintains her calm. Why then would she go and provoke violence in an area which is populated by her neighbours, many of whom were also her patients and whose children she had delivered over the years? A person who has been a life-giver is not suddenly likely to turn into a mass murderer, especially since Kodnani did not have any such history before that fateful date.

The “sting” by Tehelka: Another bit of corroborative “evidence” used by the court against Kodnani is the so-called sting operation by Ashish Khetan, then with Tehelka. Firstly, there is no sting operation on Kodnani. Instead, two of the accused – Prakash Chhara and Suresh Langda – are shown talking to each other in an inebriated state. Khetan asks one of them: “On that day (28th February 2002), which all politicians came? Did Mayaben come?” At this Chhara asks Langda, “Did Maya Kodnani come?” Langda says: “Yes, she came for a little time.” Chhara then asks: “Didn’t she go around in an open jeep? Did not Narendra bhai also come on that day?”

At this Khetan asks with mock surprise: “Narendra bhai?” Langda says: “Yes, he came in front of our house, patted us on the back and said, you are doing good work [meaning setting people’s homes on fire and killing them brutally].” It is noteworthy that the Supreme Court-appointed SIT did not find any evidence of Modi having gone around the city encouraging mob violence, as alleged by these two. But Yagnik takes them seriously even though both contradict each other.

Chhara’s statement does not state any time and instead makes a vague assertion that “she used to go around all day in an open jeep”. And yet, this has been treated as definitive evidence to prove that Kodnani was a co-conspirator in the riots.

What’s more, the sting operation was of 90 hours’ duration over several visits. Khetan edited and cut it into a one-hour video which was provided to Aaj Tak for the telecast. This was relayed by the channel just before the appointment of the SIT by the Supreme Court.

Normally, courts do not accept edited recordings as definitive evidence because the likelihood of tampering and distortion is very high. But in this case, one stray sentence without any substantiation was used by Judge Yagnik to condemn Kodnani to 28 years of imprisonment.

It is interesting to note that Chharu and Langda blurted a lot more during that drunken conversation with Khetan. They named a lot more people. But the court did not haul up any of the rest. Judge Yagnik’s focus was on the part that indicted Kodnani.

As long as the UPA government was in power, Kodnani was not even allowed bail even though her health deteriorated dramatically while in jail. According to her doctor, unable to take the shock of her conviction, she sank into a deep depression that was made worse by the kind of medical treatment she was subjected to while in jail. Her husband had to intervene firmly as they were about to give her the fourth ECT.

Overconfidence also did her in: Knowledgeable people say Kodnani suffered this fate because she was so confident of the video evidence and testimonies of credible witnesses that she did not even bother to hire a personal lawyer. In all, there were 62 accused in this case and all of them had a common lawyer appointed by the Government of Gujarat, which had also been put in the dock for orchestrating the killings. Kodnani was part of the 62 accused that the government-hired lawyer defended en bloc. Of the 62, 31 were acquitted and 31 convicted.

It is unlikely that she got the best defence possible.

It is highly likely that, like Kodnani, many innocents may have been framed for political reasons, while those who were really guilty got away with murder.

Kodnani has appealed against this order in the High Court, pleading that she has been falsely implicated. One hopes she can get justice.

For part II of this article please click on the below link:-

Judge Jyotsna Yagnik’s Legal Acrobatics In The Maya Kodnani Case Of 2002:

210 thoughts on “Case Against Maya Kodnani, Convicted In 2002 Riots, Has Gaping Holes — Part I”

  1. Greetings from Los angeles! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to check out your site on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the info you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m amazed at how quick your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, excellent site!

  2. Hi there! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one? Thanks a lot!

  3. Hi there! I realize this is somewhat off-topic but I had to ask. Does building a well-established blog like yours take a massive amount work? I’m completely new to blogging but I do write in my diary daily. I’d like to start a blog so I will be able to share my own experience and thoughts online. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or tips for new aspiring bloggers. Appreciate it!

  4. I do agree with all the concepts you have introduced on your post. They are very convincing and will definitely work. Still, the posts are too brief for newbies. May you please prolong them a bit from next time? Thank you for the post.

  5. My spouse and I stumbled over here from a different website and thought I might check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to checking out your web page yet again.

  6. I’ve been exploring for a little bit for any high-quality articles or blog posts in this kind of space . Exploring in Yahoo I finally stumbled upon this site. Reading this info So i’m glad to express that I have a very just right uncanny feeling I found out exactly what I needed. I so much certainly will make certain to don?t disregard this web site and give it a look on a constant basis.

  7. Thank you for another informative website. Where else may I am getting that kind of info written in such a perfect means? I have a undertaking that I am simply now running on, and I have been at the glance out for such information.

  8. I all the time used to read piece of writing in news papers but now as I am a user of internet so from now I am using net for articles or reviews, thanks to web.

  9. Hi there! I realize this is somewhat off-topic but I had to ask. Does operating a well-established blog like yours take a massive amount work? I’m completely new to writing a blog but I do write in my diary everyday. I’d like to start a blog so I will be able to share my own experience and views online. Please let me know if you have any ideas or tips for new aspiring bloggers. Appreciate it!

  10. I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here. The sketch is tasteful, your authored subject matter stylish. nonetheless, you command get bought an nervousness over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly again since exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this increase.

  11. Pretty section of content. I simply stumbled upon your blog and in accession capital to say that I acquire in fact enjoyed account your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing for your augment or even I fulfillment you get entry to persistently fast.

  12. Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your weblog. You have some really great posts and I think I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d absolutely love to write some material for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please send me an e-mail if interested. Kudos!

  13. It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I want to suggest you some interesting things or tips. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article. I desire to read even more things about it!

  14. Yet another thing is that while searching for a good online electronics store, look for web shops that are continually updated, retaining up-to-date with the most current products, the perfect deals, and helpful information on services. This will ensure you are getting through a shop that stays atop the competition and provide you things to make knowledgeable, well-informed electronics acquisitions. Thanks for the crucial tips I have really learned from your blog.

  15. This design is wicked! You definitely know how to keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Wonderful job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

  16. Unquestionably consider that that you stated. Your favourite justification appeared to be at the net the simplest thing to take note of. I say to you, I definitely get irked even as other folks consider worries that they plainly do not understand about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the top as smartly as defined out the whole thing with no need side effect , other people can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thank you

  17. Hi there are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you need any coding knowledge to make your own blog? Any help would be really appreciated!

  18. Howdy would you mind stating which blog platform you’re working with? I’m looking to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a tough time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S My apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  19. There are a few interesting points soon enough in this posting but I do not determine if them all center to heart. There exists some validity but I will take hold opinion until I check into it further. Excellent post , thanks and that we want much more! Added to FeedBurner likewise

  20. With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement? My blog has a lot of unique content I’ve either created myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my agreement. Do you know any techniques to help reduce content from being ripped off? I’d definitely appreciate it.

  21. I simply could not depart your web site prior to suggesting that I really enjoyed the standard information a person supply for your visitors? Is going to be back often in order to inspect new posts

  22. There are definitely numerous details like that to take into consideration. That is a nice level to carry up. I supply the ideas above as basic inspiration however clearly there are questions just like the one you bring up the place a very powerful thing might be working in trustworthy good faith. I don?t know if greatest practices have emerged around things like that, but I’m certain that your job is clearly identified as a good game. Both girls and boys feel the impact of just a moment?s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

  23. Heya i’m for the primary time here. I came across this board and I in finding It truly useful & it helped me out a lot. I am hoping to give something back and help others like you helped me.

  24. Greetings! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one? Thanks a lot!

  25. Fantastic blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any suggestions? Many thanks!

  26. This is a appropriate blog for everyone who is wants to find out about this topic. You know a whole lot its virtually tough to argue along (not that I personally would want…HaHa). You actually put a new spin over a topic thats been discussing for many years. Fantastic stuff, just fantastic!

  27. Hey there! I’ve been following your site for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Huffman Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the fantastic job!

  28. I used to be suggested this web site by way of my cousin. I am no longer certain whether this publish is written by way of him as nobody else understand such exact about my trouble. You are incredible! Thank you!

  29. I was very happy to find this site. I wanted to thank you for your time just for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoyed every bit of it and I have you saved as a favorite to see new stuff on your website.

  30. Thank you for any other great article. The place else may just anyone get that type of information in such a perfect method of writing? I’ve a presentation next week, and I’m at the look for such info.

  31. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?

  32. One thing I’d prefer to reply to is that fat burning plan fast can be achieved by the suitable diet and exercise. Your size not merely affects appearance, but also the complete quality of life. Self-esteem, despression symptoms, health risks, as well as physical ability are damaged in extra weight. It is possible to do everything right whilst still having a gain. In such a circumstance, a problem may be the perpetrator. While a lot of food and not enough physical exercise are usually accountable, common health conditions and widespread prescriptions could greatly enhance size. I am grateful for your post here.

  33. I just could not depart your site before suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the standard information a person provide for your visitors? Is gonna be back often to check up on new posts

  34. Almanya’nın en iyi medyumu haluk hoca sayesinde sizlerde güven içerisinde çalışmalar yaptırabilirsiniz, 40 yıllık uzmanlık ve tecrübesi ile sizlere en iyi medyumluk hizmeti sunuyoruz.

  35. Almanya’nın en iyi medyumu haluk hoca sayesinde sizlerde güven içerisinde çalışmalar yaptırabilirsiniz, 40 yıllık uzmanlık ve tecrübesi ile sizlere en iyi medyumluk hizmeti sunuyoruz.

  36. Heya i?m for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and help others like you helped me.

  37. There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That is a nice point to deliver up. I offer the thoughts above as common inspiration however clearly there are questions like the one you convey up where crucial thing will likely be working in trustworthy good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged round issues like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly recognized as a good game. Each girls and boys feel the impact of just a second?s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

  38. Thanks for these guidelines. One thing I additionally believe is always that credit cards featuring a 0 rate often appeal to consumers along with zero rate, instant acceptance and easy on the web balance transfers, nevertheless beware of the top factor that will probably void the 0 easy street annual percentage rate as well as throw you out into the very poor house rapidly.

  39. Нужна стяжка пола в Москве, но вы не знаете, как выбрать подрядчика? Обратитесь к нам на сайт! Мы предлагаем услуги по устройству стяжки пола любой площади и сложности, а также гарантируем доступные цены и высокое качество работ.

  40. Hey, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog site in Ie, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, amazing blog!

  41. Хотите получить идеально ровные стены в своем доме или офисе? Обратитесь к профессионалам на сайте! Мы предлагаем услуги по механизированной штукатурке стен любой сложности и площади, а также гарантируем качество работ и доступные цены.

  42. I have been surfing online more than three hours lately, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty value enough for me. Personally, if all site owners and bloggers made just right content as you did, the internet might be much more useful than ever before.

  43. I simply couldn’t go away your website prior to suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the usual information a person provide for
    your guests? Is going to be back ceaselessly in order to check
    up on new posts

  44. I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your blog.
    It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable
    for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out
    a developer to create your theme? Exceptional work!

  45. You’re so awesome! I don’t think I’ve truly read anything like that
    before. So nice to find someone with genuine thoughts on this topic.
    Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This site is one thing that’s needed on the internet, someone with a
    little originality!

  46. Greetings from Idaho! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to browse your website on my iphone during lunch break.
    I love the knowledge you provide here and can’t wait to take
    a look when I get home. I’m surprised at how fast your blog loaded on my mobile ..
    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, fantastic site!

  47. Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than just your
    articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and all. But think about if you added some great images
    or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content
    is excellent but with pics and video clips, this website could certainly be one of the most beneficial in its niche.
    Great blog!

  48. Hello there, simply turned into aware of your blog thru Google, and found that it is really informative. I’m gonna watch out for brussels. I will appreciate in the event you continue this in future. A lot of other folks will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  49. You’re so awesome! I don’t think I’ve read something like this before. So nice to find somebody with a few unique thoughts on this subject. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This website is something that is needed on the web, someone with some originality!

  50. Appreciating the persistence you put into your website and in depth information you present. It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed material. Fantastic read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  51. It is perfect time to make some plans for the long run and it is time to be happy. I’ve learn this post and if I may I wish to recommend you some fascinating things or suggestions. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I desire to read even more issues about it!

  52. is a trusted latest USA News and global news provider. website provides latest insights to new trends and worldwide events. So keep visiting our website for USA News, World News, Financial News, Business News, Entertainment News, Celebrity News, Sport News, NBA News, NFL News, Health News, Nature News, Technology News, Travel News.

  53. Thanks for another informative site. Where else could I get that kind of information written in such a perfect way? I have a project that I am just now working on, and I have been on the look out for such info.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top