BJP President Amit Shah appeared before a special Sessions Court here on Monday in the 2002 Naroda Gam case in which 11 persons were killed and said the key accused and former Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani was with him when the crime took place.
Shah was summoned by the court after Kodnani claimed to have failed to get the BJP chief to depose as a witness in her favour despite repeated attempts. She submitted that she was unable to find Amit Shah or his address to issue the summons.
As many as 14 witnesses have deposed and 13 have been examined. She is among the 82 accused in the case.
The incident occurred on February 28, 2002, a day after a coach of the Sabarmati Express train was set on fire at the Godhra railway station leaving 57 Hindus dead.
Naroda Gam is close to Naroda Patiya where 97 Muslims were killed on the same day in which Kodnani was convicted in 2012 for life imprisonment.
Deposing in the court of Justice P.D. Desai on Monday, Amit Shah stated that Kodnani was with him in the Assembly and later at the Civil Hospital at Sola where the bodies of the Godhra train victims were brought.
Shah said he had gone to the Sola Civil Hospital since it fell under his constituency.
Speaking in defence of the former minister, Amit Shah submitted to the court in Gujarati: “Mayaben Kodnani was not at Naroda Gam but at the State Assembly at 8.30 am. From 9.30 a.m. to 9.45 a.m., I was at the Civil Hospital and I met Maya Kodnani there.”
He added that Kodnani was consoling families of those killed in the Godhra attack when he reached there.
Kodnani, who was a minister in 2002 in the Gujarat government led by Chief Minister Narendra Modi, wants to prove that on the day of the Naroda Gam killings she was not at the site of the crime.