Nine persons were sentenced to life imprisonment on Friday and 30 acquitted by a special court for the killing of three members of a Muslim family in Ode village who were burnt alive during the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat.
The nine accused were convicted by special court judge R M Sarin on charges of murder, rioting and criminal conspiracy and awarded life imprisonment.
The court also awarded six months imprisonment to another accused who has been convicted for voluntarily causing hurt to the victims.
The court acquitted 17 people saying that they were not involved in the case while 13 others were given benefit of doubt.
There were 41 accused in the case against whom the charges were framed on the complaint of Rehana Yusufbhai Vohra, a relative of the victims. One of the accused died during the trial.
Ayesha Vohra, Nuriben Vohra and Kaderbhai Vohra were killed in Malva Bhagol area of Ode village on March 1, 2002 as part of state-wide repercussions of Godhra train burning incident of February 27, 2002.
Those convicted by the court are Harish Patel, Vasant Patel, Lala alias Nilesh Patel, Tina alias Mahesh Patel, Mimesh Patel, Prakash alias Pako Patel, Ritesh Patel, Ashok Patel and Kirit Patel.
This is the second case of Ode village in which court has given its verdict. In the first case, another court had sentenced 18 people to life imprisonment while awarding seven years jail to five others, in connection with massacre of 23 persons in Ode village during the 2002 post-Godhra
The case was probed by the Supreme Court appointed special investigation team headed by former CBI director R K Raghavan.
Out of the 67 witnesses examined by the court, 16 had turned hostile.
The court imposed a fine of Rs 21,500 on each of the nine convicted for murder while Rs 500 on the one convicted for causing hurt.
Public prosecutor B C Trivedi said the court has accepted criminal conspiracy charges against the convicts in the case in its 470-page judgement.
They had demanded capital punishment for all the nine people who were convicted in the case. A decision on challenging the acquittal of 30 people will be taken after going through the judgement, he said.
Out of the nine cases probed by the SIT headed by former CBI director R K Raghavan, judgements have been pronounced in two other cases also, including the Godhra train burning incident where 11 people were awarded death sentence and 20 were sentenced to life imprisonment.
The second case was that of Sardarpura village in Mehsana district where 31 persons were awarded life term and 42 others were acquitted.