Plea for voice test in 2002 Gujarat riot case rejected

Ahmedabad, March 5 (IANS) A court hearing the Naroda Gam case of the 2002 Gujarat riots has rejected the Special Investigation Team’s (SIT) plea to conduct voice tests on VHP activists Babu Bajrangi and Jaideep Patel. Eleven people were killed in Naroda Gam.

The SIT had wanted to cross-check claims of complicity of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leaders in the riots. The claims were made in a sting operation by a magazine in 2007.

Judge S.H. Vora Thursday rejected the plea on the grounds that Section 73 of the Evidence Act has no provision for conducting voice spectrograph tests of the accused. According to counsel Rohit Verma who appeared for Bajrangi and Patel only finger printing and handwriting check can be done if the investigating agency needs further information.

Eighty three people have been chargesheeted in the Naroda Gam case. Earlier, two other courts hearing cases related to the 2002 riots in Gulbarg society and Naroda Patia in Ahmedabad permitted voice sampling of the accused to enable comparisons with the voice recordings in the sting for purposes of appraising evidence.

The special court hearing the Naroda Patia case has also turned down the Jan Sangharsh Manch plea for directions to the Supreme Court-appointed SIT to scrutinise the mobile call records furnished by senior police officer Rahul Sharma in a CD.

The CD carries call records of the key people in the state administrative set up including police and the chief medical officer as well as those involved in rioting.

The special public prosecutor had argued that investigations were in progress and a final report from the SIT was yet to be received and therefore specific directions to the agency cannot be given at this juncture.

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