Ahmedabad: It was the testimonies of the witnesses which helped the court on Friday hand down sentences to the 24 convicts in the 2002 Gulbarg Society massacre case.
The court relied on the testimonies of eyewitnesses who said that Atul Vaidya, a local VHP leader, Kailash Dhobi and Jayesh Jinger were among those who dragged out former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri when he stepped out of his house to mollify the mob. The mob hacked Jafri to death.
Vaidya, sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment, was not found guilty of murdering Salim Abubakkar, as charged.
Narayan Tank, sentenced to life imprisonment, was among the leaders of the group which dragged Jafri out, as per the witnesses.
Kailash Dhobi, who got life sentence and who was ‘accused number one’ in the charge sheet, entered the society at around 1.30 pm with a mob which broke the compound walls, and he killed with sword Anwar Khan Pathan, witnesses said.
Jayesh Kumar Jinger threw bricks that killed one of the victims, and burnt the bodies by pouring inflammable liquid, witnesses said.
Special judge P B Desai, however, acquitted K G Erda, an inspector attached to Meghaninagar police station in whose jurisdiction the Society stands. “It is very difficult to establish beyond reasonable doubt the culpability… of a single police officer when the entire police force could be said to have been highly ineffective that day,” said the court.
Kailash Dhobi, Yogendra Shekhawat, Jayesh Jingar, Krishna Kalal, Jayesh Parmar, Raju Tiwari, Bharat Rajput, Dinesh Sharma, Narayan Tank, Lakhansinh Chudasama and Bharat Taili got the life sentence. Mangilal Jain got 10 years’ jail term.
Atul Vaid, Mukesh Jingar, Prakash Padhiyar, Surendrasinh Chauhan, Dilip Parmar, Babu Marwadi, Manish Jain, Dharmesh Shukla, Kapil Mishra, Suresh Dhobi, Ambesh Jingar and Sandeep Punjabi were sentenced to seven years imprisonment.
BJP corporator Bipin Patel was among those who were acquitted, giving benefit of doubt.