BJP President Amit Shah today recorded his statement in sessions court in Ahmedabad as a witness for Maya Kodnani, who is a former state minister accused of leading rioting mobs in 2002 Naroda Gam case. Shah told the court that Kodnani was inside the state assembly at 8:30 am on 28th February, as against in Naroda as she is accused of. Incidentally, a television footage available corroborates this claim:
Amit Shah: “Maya Kodnani was not in Naroda Gam at 8:30 am as alleged but in Guj Assembly.”
TV footage. Kodnani present. Clock shows 8:40 am. pic.twitter.com/UQ2MD6cBMw
— Anand Ranganathan (@ARanganathan72) September 18, 2017
The BJP President further said that when he was at the Sola Civil Hospital, where the bodies of the Godhra carnage victims was kept, he met Kodnani there. Both had visited the hospital right after the special assembly session held to pay respects to the karsevaks who had died in the carnage.
Was surrounded by ppl when I left hospital. Maya Kodnani&I were taken to our respective cars in Police jeep; was 11-11:15 am that time: Shah
— ANI (@ANI) September 18, 2017
In 2012, Kodnani was accused and convicted of murder, attempted murder and conspiracy in 2002 riots. While pronouncing the judgement, Judge Jyotsna Yagnik had named Kodnani “a kingpin of riots”. Judge Yagnik had also accused Kodnani of leading the mob and incite them to violence.
Shah’s statement, however, stands as a testimony that perhaps Kodnani was indeed a victim of politics. There have been glaring loopholes in her conviction by Judge Yagnik. Despite video footage of her presence at Gujarat Assembly between 8:30 am to 8:40 am, witnesses for the prosecution had claimed Kodnani was leading a mob in Naroda at 8:30 am as well. As per another witness, Kodnani was distributing swords and other weapons, though at a later time that day.
Interestingly, all these witnesses have named Kodnani for the first time in 2008, six years after the riots took place. Some of the witnesses are also allegedly close to Teesta Setalvad, who has been accused of illegal exhumation of victim bodies and embezzling funds of trust created for helping the riot victims.