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Gulbarg Society case: Witnesses' statements helped court convict 24 accused

The court relied on the testimonies of the witnesses while awarding sentences to the 24 convicts in the 2002 Gulbarg Society massacre case on Friday.

The court took into account the testimonies of eyewitnesses who said that Atul Vaidya, a local VHP leader, Kailash Dhobi and Jayesh Jinger were among those who were involved in dragging out former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri when he stepped out of his house to pacify the mob. Jafri was later hacked to death by the mob.

Vaidya, awarded seven years' imprisonment, was not found guilty of murdering Salim Abubakkar, as charged. The witnesses said that Narayan Tank, sentenced to life imprisonment, was among the leaders of the group which dragged Jafri out.

Kailash Dhobi, who was awarded life tem and who was 'accused number one' in the charge sheet, entered the society at around 1.30 pm with a mob which broke the compound walls. Witnesses said that he also killed Anwar Khan Pathan with sword.

Witnesses also said that Jayesh Kumar Jinger threw bricks that killed one of the victims and he later burnt the bodies using inflammable liquid.

K G Erda, an inspector attached to Meghaninagar police station in whose jurisdiction the Society stands, was however, acquitted by Special judge P B Desai. "It is very difficult to establish beyond reasonable doubt the culpability... of a single police officer when the entire police force could be said to have been highly ineffective that day," said the court.

Kailash Dhobi, Yogendra Shekhawat, Jayesh Jingar, Krishna Kalal, Jayesh Parmar, Raju Tiwari, Bharat Rajput, Dinesh Sharma, Narayan Tank, Lakhansinh Chudasama and Bharat Taili got the life sentence. Mangilal Jain got 10 years' jail term.

Atul Vaid, Mukesh Jingar, Prakash Padhiyar, Surendrasinh Chauhan, Dilip Parmar, Babu Marwadi, Manish Jain, Dharmesh Shukla, Kapil Mishra, Suresh Dhobi, Ambesh Jingar and Sandeep Punjabi were sentenced to seven years imprisonment.

BJP corporator Bipin Patel was among those who were acquitted, giving benefit of doubt.