The Gujarat high court on Monday rejected the Special Investigation Team's plea seeking cancellation of bail of Babu Bajrangi, former Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader and an accused in the 2002 Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gam riot cases.
The petition by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team, filed in August last year, was rejected by Justice R H Shukla.
During the hearing that spanned over 16 months, Special Public Prosecutors Ajay Choksi and J M Panchal had submitted that the SIT was seeking the revocation of Bajrangi's bail on the ground of his statements made during a 2007 sting operation carried out by news magazine Tehelka.
In the video footage, Bajrangi is seen boasting about his heroics during the riots and how he instigated the mob in attacking members of a minority community.
Bajrangi's counsel Yogesh Lakhani had argued that the cancellation of bail was being sought eight years after his client was granted bail by the HC.
He had alleged malafide intentions behind the SIT seeking cancellation of only Bajrangi's bail, and pointed out that his client had cooperated with the probe, did not abscond or tamper with evidence and attended trial court hearings.
Lakhani maintained that the SIT had not sought cancellation of bail of the three other co-accused.
Bajrangi is an accused in the post-Godhra riots which took place in Naroda Gam and Naroda Patiya areas of the city. Both cases are being investigated by the SIT.
During the violence on February 28, 2002, 116 persons had lost their lives in the two incidents. The trial in these cases is being conducted in a special court following directions by the apex court.