Guilty, until proven innocent - A note on Mayaben Kodnani's conviction in

Gujarat Riots (Part 2)

Yajur Sharma, Advocate

This is a continuation of the previous note and the purpose of the analysis here
is to determine Mayaben Kodnani's (MK’s) presence at various places as
alleged on the day of the riots. Additional inputs from the Naroda Gam case
have been used to supplement the Naroda Patiya riot case analysis (Part 1):

Presence at Sola Hospital

(i) In sessions case no. 203/09, Prosecution Witness No. 135 Kantibhai (driver
in police vehicle) states that on 28.02.2002, at around 8 in the morning, he had
gone on duty to Sola Hospital. He further states that at about 10.30 am, Amit
Shah and Mayaben Kodnani (MK) were cordoned off and brought to our
mobile van. The witness then states that he dropped MK at R.T.O circle
Subhash Bridge taking her via Chandlodiya, Nirnaynagar, Akhbarnagar where
she stepped into a private vehicle which was following the van.

(ii) Again Prosecution Witness No. 139 in sessions case no. 203/09, who was
on duty as a Mamlatdar, Daskroi Taluka states that he saw MK at Sola Civil
Hospital at around 10.00 hours. He further states that he had seen her coming in
the room where the dead bodies were kept and after staying there for around 15
minutes, she had gone to the place in the outside compound where our other
officers were present. He states that he had seen her upto 11.30 hours in the

(iii) The Ahmedabad city Mamlatdar Kantibhai (Prosecution witness no. 140)
states that MK came at around 10.00 to 10.30 hours, remained there for 10-15
minutes and had to leave when the mob agitated.

(iv) Even in the footage of a Doordarshan Gujarat which has been made
available to us, MK can be seen in Sola Hospital on the day of the riots.

Presence at Gujarat Vidhan Sabha

(v) Also one Amrish Govindbhai Patel, Asawra MLA, has stated in his
statement before Mr. Mal (I.O. of Naroda Gam case) that A-37 was at
legislative assembly upto 9 am and upto 12.30 pm she was at Civil Hospital
and from 3.30 pm again also she was at Civil Hospital.

Alleged Presence at Naroda Patiya

(vi) There are eyewitness records in the Naroda Patiya case which allege that
MK was at Naroda Patiya at 11.15 am.

(vii) The court in the Naroda Patiya judgment also relies on the revelation
made by Suresh Chhara that "Mayaben was there at the site on the date of
occurrence for the whole day up to 8 p.m." (Page 770)

(viii) The court in the Naroda Patiya Judgment also relies on the revelation
made by Babu Bajrangi in the sting operation that "Mayaben had arrived at the
Patiya at 4 pm". (Page 765)

(ix) Karman Khurshed Mysorewala who was working as Senior PI at the time
of the incident states that the allegations that MK came to talk to him at the day
of the riots is false. He further states that it is not true that MK had taken
weapons from her vehicle and supplied them to the mob. He confirms the
presence of few of the other accused at the scene of the crime i.e. Kishan
Korani, Raju Chaubal, Babu Bajrangi and P.J. Rajput but denies the presence
of MK or the allegation that she had met him.

(x) PW-236 states that he saw MK at the scene of crime at around 8.30 a.m. or
9 a.m. (Pg. 644, Para 7.1)

(xi) Another witness in Sessions Case No. 247/09 (Witness No. 236,
Sidiquibhai Mansuri) says that he saw MK getting down from white vehicle
and delivering instigating speeches at 8.30 hours in the morning near Natraj.

(xii) The video of the in-camera proceedings of the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha also
shows MK’s presence in Vidhan Sabha at least till 8.40 in the morning.

(xiii) Again PW-156 says that he saw MK at around 9 a.m. (Pg. 654, 655)

(xiv) Court in the Naroda Patiya Judgment opines that the depositions of the
eleven witnesses proves that MK was present at the site somewhere between
9.00 to 9.30 am and that she was again seen at the site somewhere around 11 to
12 noon. (Page 729)

Other relevant observations - Credibility of the witnesses and their

(xv) In sessions case no. 247/2009; witness no. 52 in her statement dated 30
May 2008 states that MK came in a vehicle in the morning. She further states
that she entered with a revolver in the mob. She made a gesture and made firing
out of the revolver towards the Muslim population. The witness states that
there is a call for strike a day in advance, and she had been informed that she
should not come to work. But in paragraph 9 of her deposition, she states that
wearing khaki uniform she went for work. Mayaben took out pistol and started
firing. The other prosecution and police witnesses state that prior to eleven
hours in the morning, any firing did not take place. The fact that this witness
went to work knowing well in advance that there was a bandh is itself
unbelievable. The allegation that MK made firing out of the revolver towards
the Muslim population adds further insult to injury as far as the witness's
credibility is concerned.

(xvi) The above witness no. 52's story is put before the court first time in 2008.

(xvii) Similarly, there are many witnesses who have not named MK in the year
2002 but only later when the investigations were reopened (year 2008 onward).
This casts serious suspicion on the authenticity of the statements and raises the
possibility of strategic implication of MK in the crime by means such as
tutoring of witnesses. For e.g. refer the statements of Farida Abdul Khalifa
(Prosecution Witness No. 149), Abdul Majid Usman Sheikh (Prosecution
Witness No. 156), Jhulekabibi (Prosecution witness No. 176), Rashidabanu
Imtiazhussian Momin (Prosecution witness no. 192), Harun Mohamed Shiekh
(Prosecution Witness No. 198). So many witnesses, none of whom mentioned
MK's name earlier bring her into fray after more than six years - there is a huge
possibility that the depositions made by the various witnesses had been
orchestrated at a later stage so as to implicate MK and it is very well possible
that MK has been falsely involved in the case due to political vendetta and as a
result of political rivalries.

(xviii) From the statements of the prosecution witness No. 135 and 140 in the
Naroda Gam case it seems clear that MK was present at Sola Civil Hospital in
the morning. The same has also been supported by footage from Doordarshan
Gujarat capturing MK’s presence at Sola Civil Hospital on the day of the riots.

(xix) And although Amrish Govindbhai Patel’s statement is made before the
police and not as reliable as statements made before the court, it is extremely
relevant that it is not lightly ignored as the statement further reinforces the fact
the MK was at Sola Civil Hospital at least during the first half on the day of the

(xx) Also, the fact that most of the witnesses have made allegations against MK
only in the year 2008 also signifies that MK may have been implicated in the
case as a result of political vendetta or rivalries as already elaborated earlier.

(xxi) All of the above observations reinforce the observations that were made
in the first part of this analysis i.e. the depositions of the various eye-witnesses
in the Naroda Patiya case alleging the presence of MK at the scene of the riots
in the morning and projecting her as the instigator of the riots have to looked at
with suspicion and doubt.

(xxii) The statement of the Senior PI Mysorewala (provided above) where he
states that MK never spoke to him nor was she present at Naroda Patiya on the
day of the riots further casts a shadow of doubt over the conviction of MK for
instigating the riots in the Narida Patiya judgment.

Part 1:

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