The Gujarat high court on Thursday granted bail to former minister Maya Kodnani, who was convicted and sentenced to 28 years' imprisonment in the 2002 Naroda Paitya riots case in which 97 people were killed.
The division bench of high court comprising Justice V M Sahai and Justice R P Dholaria, accepted Kodnani's application seeking bail on health grounds.
With this, she becomes the first accused to get bail in the Naroda Patiya riots case.
The court has given her regular bail on the bond of Rs 1 lakh and has exempted her from appearing before the police during her bail period as she is not keeping well.
Kodnani in her bail application had said that she has been suffering from tuberculosis and depression, for which she is getting treatment at city civil hospital. She has been lodged in the Sabarmati jail.
Kodnani had also submitted in the bail plea that her appeal challenging the judgment of special court is pending before the Gujarat high court since December 2012. The appeal is not likely to be heard in near future, and considering this she should be released on bail, it said.
Earlier in February, Kodnani was given temporary bail by the high court. However later in the same month she was denied the extension of the release period.
A special investigation team court had in August 2012 awarded life imprisonment to the then Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Maya Kodnani, Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi and 29 others for the 2002 riots here at Naroda Patiya, where 97 people were brutally killed.
The court had named Kodnani, a minister in then CM Narendra Modi's cabinet, as "a kingpin of riots" in Naroda area and sentenced her to 28 years' imprisonment.
Kodnani, who was the MLA of Naroda at the time of riots, was made minister of state for women and child development in 2007. She had to resign after her arrest in the case in March 2009.
The three-time legislator is the first woman to be convicted in a post-Godhra riots case. The massacre had taken place a day after the Godhra train burning incident of February 27, 2002.
Image: Maya Kodnani was the MLA of Naroda at the time of the Gujarat riots