Trial in the Gulbarg Society riot case of 2002 began in the special court in Ahmedabad with framing of charges against the accused in the incident, in which 69 persons, including former Member of Parliament Eshan Jaffery, were killed.
Designated Judge B U Joshi today framed charges against 62 of the 63 accused and directed the investigating officer to submit the original document of the case in the court by August 20 -- the date for the next hearing.
Charges were not framed against one of the accused, suspended Deputy Superintendent of Police K G Erda, who was posted at Meghaninagar police station, under which the Gulbarg Society falls, as an inspector during the 2002 post-Godhra riots. Erda could not be produced in court due to health-related problems.
The prime accused in the case include Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Atul Vaidya, Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Pradeep Parmar, ex-municipal councilor Chunilal Prajapati and sitting councilor Bipin Patel. All the accused have been charged for criminal conspiracy, murder, attempt to murder, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, causing disappearance of evidence and rioting under the various sections of Indian Penal Code.
Out of the 63 accused, four persons have also been charged with gangrape and murder of two women in the Gulburg Society. The accused include Manish Jain, Lakhan Singh alias Lakhia, Dinesh Sharma and Yogendra Singh (alias Lalo).
One Azhar Modi, a teenager who was declared missing following the incident, has been declared dead as seven years have passed since the incident.
The other 31 people, who were also missing after the carnage, have been declared dead as seven years have passed. Erda, the first police official accused in a riot case, was posted as deputy superintendent of police, Valsad, before he was arrested by the Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team, which is probing the case.
He has been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code which include 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and for dereliction of duty and tampering with evidence.
Zakia, wife of Ehsan Jaffery, had filed a complaint in the apex court, where she accused Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 62 others of aiding and abetting the riots across Gujarat. The apex court had ordered the SIT to probe into the complaint.