69 accused in the 2002 post-Godhra riot case of Naroda Gaam have moved Gujarat High Court seeking transfer of their case from the court of designated judge Jyotsna Yagnik alleging that she was biased against them.
"The way designated judge Jyotsna Yagnik conducts the hearing of this case clearly shows her biased and discriminatory approach towards accused. Hence, 69 accused have filed petition to transfer this case to some other judge," accused Hardik Patel's advocate said while giving details of the petition, filed earlier this week.
The petition is likely to come up for hearing on Monday.
On February 28, 2002, in the aftermath of Godhra train burning incident, a violent mob had killed 11 people of the minority community in Naroda Gaam area of the city. The trial in the case has been on against 79 accused, including former state minister Maya Kodnani, Babu Bajrangi and VHP leader Jaideep Patel, who have not joined this petition.
Earlier this year, the Gujarat High Court had rejected a petition filed by former state minister and convict in Naroda Patiya massacre case Maya Kodnanai, Bajrangi and Kishen Korani, who had sought similar relief on different grounds.
Kodnani, Babu Bajrangi and Kishen Korani were convicted and sentenced to life in Naroda Patiya case by Jyotsna Yagnik in August last year.
In their separate petitions, they had expressed apprehensions that they would be deprived of fair and impartial trial if the same judge, who had pronounced them guilty in Naroda Patiya case, would conduct the trial in Naroda Gaam case.
However, Justice K M Thakar, while rejecting their petition, held that the court found no ground or reasons which could form the basis for considering the removal of the designated judge.