Bilkis Bano Case: All eleven life term convicts in the 2002 Godhra Bilkis Bano gang rape case were released from the Godhra sub-jail on Monday after the Gujarat government allowed their release as part of its remission policy, an official said. Was.
Bilkis Bano Case
On January 21, 2008, a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Mumbai sentenced eleven accused to life imprisonment for the gang rape and murder of seven family members of Bilkis Bano. Later the Bombay High Court upheld his sentence.
These convicts had served more than 15 years in jail after which one of them had approached the Supreme Court seeking his premature release.
Panchmahal Collector Sujal Mayatra, who chaired the panel, said the apex court had directed the Gujarat government to look into the issue of remission of his sentence, following which the government constituted a committee.
“A committee constituted a few months back unanimously decided in favor of releasing all the 11 convicts in the case. The recommendation was sent to the state government and yesterday we got their release orders,” Mayatra said.
On 3 March 2002, the family of Bilkis Bano was attacked by a mob in Randhikpur village of Limkheda taluka of Dahod district during the post-Godhra riots.
Bilkis Bano, who was five months pregnant at the time, was gang-raped and seven of her family members murdered. The court was told that six other members managed to escape.
The accused in this case were arrested in 2004.
Trial started in Ahmedabad. However, after Bilkis Bano expressed apprehensions that witnesses might be harmed and evidence collected by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) tampered with, the Supreme Court transferred the case to Mumbai in August 2004.
On January 21, 2008, a special CBI court had sentenced 11 accused to life imprisonment for the gang-rape and murder of seven members of Bilkis Bano’s family.
Upholding the conviction of the accused persons in its 2018 order, the Bombay High Court also acquitted seven persons in the case.
The 11 convicts who were released prematurely include Jaswantbhai Nai, Govindbhai Nai, Shailesh Bhatt, Radhesham Shah, Bipin Chandra Joshi, Kesarbhai Vohaniya, Pradeep Mordhia, Bakabhai Vohaniya, Rajubhai Soni, Mitesh Bhatt and Ramesh Chandana.
One of them, Radheshyam Shah, had approached the Gujarat High Court for waiving the sentence under sections 432 and 433 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The High Court dismissed his plea saying that the “appropriate government” to decide on his exemption is Maharashtra and not Gujarat.
Shah then filed a petition in the Supreme Court saying that he remained in jail for 15 years and 4 months without any exemption till April 1, 2022.
In its May 13 order, the top court said that since the offense was committed in Gujarat, the state of Gujarat was the appropriate government to examine Shah’s application.