Ahmedabad: A sessions’ court in Ahmedabad will pronounce the verdict on the quantum of sentence for the 24 convicts in the Gulberg massacre case on June 17. The lawyer on behalf of the SIT presented the list of the names of the accused to the court on Monday.
“The court will announce the quantum of punishment on June 17. The jail authority had given parole to one of the accused after which he fled. Today, he surrendered before the court and was taken into custody. The court asked the jail authority to take strict action against him. He will be brought to the court on Friday during the hearing of quantum of sentence,” S.N. Vohra, the victim’s lawyer, told the media here.
The prosecution had sought nothing less than death sentence or jail term till death for all convicts while the defence lawyers contested that the incident was spontaneous and there were enough provocations for it.
Arguing the case, the defence lawyers had earlier said that the witnesses in the case have not been able to recognize the convicts, and hence on that basis, minimum punishment should be given to them.
Judge P.B. Desai had earlier on June 2 convicted 11 persons of offences including murder, while 13 others were charged with lesser offences. The court had acquitted 36 others.
The arguments on the quantum of sentence came to an end on June 10 with final submission by the prosecution. Out of the 66 accused, six died during the trial. The 24 convicted includes Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Atul Vaidya.
A mob of 400 people attacked the Gulberg society during the riots, which were triggered after a coach of the Sabarmati Express was set on fire, killing 58 people, including karsevaks.
The incident took place near the Godhra railway station on February 27, 2002. It was one of the nine cases of the Gujarat riots probed by the Supreme Court-appointed SIT.