Bilkis Bano case: All 11 convicts surrender at Godhra sub jail

All 11 convicts have surrendered before jail authorities late Sunday night, crime branch inspector N L Desai

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  22 Jan 2024 2:49 AM GMT
Bilkis Bano case: All 11 convicts surrender at Godhra sub jail

Godhra: All 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case surrendered late Sunday night at Godhra sub jail in Gujarat's Panchmahal district in keeping with the deadline imposed by the Supreme Court.

"All 11 convicts have surrendered before jail authorities late Sunday night. They reached jail before midnight of January 21, which was the deadline set for them to surrender," said local Crime Branch inspector NL Desai.

The top court had on January 8 annulled the remission the Gujarat government granted to the 11 convicts in the high-profile case while slamming the State for being "complicit" with an accused and abusing its discretion. It ordered the convicts, who were released prematurely on Independence Day in 2022, to go back to jail within two weeks.

The apex court had on Friday rejected pleas of the convicts for grant of more time to surrender and had asked them to do so by Sunday.

The 11 convicts are Bakabhai Vohania, Bipin Chandra Joshi, Kesarbhai Vohania, Govind Nai, Jaswant Nai, Mitesh Bhatt, Pradeep Mordhiya, Radheshyam Shah, Rajubhai Soni, Ramesh Chandana and Shailesh Bhatt.

Bilkis Bano was 21 years old and five months pregnant when she was gang-raped while trying to escape the horror of the communal riots that broke out after the Godhra train burning incident in February 2002. Her three-year-old daughter was among the seven family members killed.

In August 15, 2022, the 11 convicts, who had spent 14 years in jail as part of a life sentence, were granted premature release after the Gujarat government accepted their remission applications in accordance with its 1992 policy, citing their 'good conduct' during imprisonment.

The 11 are residents of Singvad and Randhikpur villages in Singvad taluka of Dahod district near Panchmahal.

Quashing the remission order, the Supreme Court had ruled that the Gujarat government lacked jurisdiction to grant premature release to the convicts as the trial had been held in Maharashtra.

Days after the apex court order, the convicts had moved the Supreme Court seeking more time to surrender on various grounds such as failing health, impending surgery, son's marriage and harvesting ripe crops.

These applications were dismissed by the apex court on Friday with the observation that the reasons cited had no merit.

(Inputs from PTI)

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