AHMEDABAD: Production of two defense witnesses before a special SIT court in Ahmedabad hearing the 2002 Naroda Gam riots case resulted in an argument between defense and prosecution, with the latter saying that their names were not mentioned in the list of witnesses.
The witnesses, identified as Ramesh Prajapati and Shankar Vaghela, told special judge P B Desai that Jagdish Prajapati, an accused in the case, was not present at the spot on the day of the incident, that took place on February 28, 2002, in which 11 persons from a minority community were killed.
They said Prajapati was being framed in the case though he was at Dahegam for 'vaastu pujan' of his new house on that day.
However, production of the witnesses led to heated exchange between defense lawyer Chetan Shah and public prosecutor Gaurang Vyas.
The public prosecutor raised objection, saying the names of the two witnesses were not mentioned in the list of witnesses and therefore, they should not have been brought without the permission of the court. Objecting to the witnesses' testimony, Vyas said the defence lawyer should have first submitted an application before the court seeking its permission for their examination.
However, Shah insisted that the two witnesses need to be examined as their testimony is important in the case. Naroda Gam massacre is one of the nine major riot cases being investigated by the SIT. A total of 82 persons are facing trial in the case.
The Supreme Court had in September last year given the special court six months time to conclude trial. Among the prominent accused in the case is former BJP minister Maya Kodnani.