The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday granted regular bail to Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Atul Vaidya in the Gulberg Society massacre case. This is the first instance of a convict getting regular bail in this case. Vaidya was sentenced to seven years imprisonment in the case related to 2002 post Godhra riots in Ahmedabad.
A division bench led by justice Abhilasha Kumari maintained that Vaidya’s petition against his conviction is pending and he has already served a year of imprisonment. The court further said that based on the evidence against him, bail can be granted.
Vaidya was among the 23 convicted by a special designated court in June 2016 for killing 69 people at Gulberg Society, a Muslim neighbourhood in Ahmedabad.
The victims included former Congress MP Ahsan Jafri whose wife alleged the then CM Narendra Modi and others for orchestrating the riots. Modi was given a clean chit by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the SC.
Soon after Gulberg judgment, the SIT wrote to the Gujarat government seeking permission to challenge the acquittal of certain accused along with an enhancement of sentences, the approval for which is still awaited.
The SIT officials maintain that the court can't be approached unless the state authorises it.
On the other hand, the convicts have already moved the high court, challenging their sentencing while several victims have also challenged the order seeking harsher punishment and are against acquittal.