Image: Indian Express
June 18, 2016
Sabrangindia has managed to access the last 97 pages of the Judgement of Judge Pranav Bhadramukh Desai who delivered the controversial verdict in the Gulberg Society Trial. (June 2 & 17, 2016). These pages deal with the reasoning of the quantum of sentencing given to the 24 Convicted Accused. This can be read here. (Pages 1245-1341)
"This is not only a complete insult to the life, work and memory of my father, Ahsan Jafri who worked and lived among his people but it makes a mockery of the sacrifice he gave of his life to save the life of others. What were the 24 police officers present doing for four hours, watching the show? The Judgement not only appears to have ignored the violent build up but appears to have been standing some of the evidence on its head. We will soldier on till we get justice."-Tanveer Jafri, son of Ahsan Jafri
Judge PB Desai’s judgement sentencing 11 to life imprisonment and denying of a criminal conspiracy in the notorious Gulberg carnage trial appears clearly based on his acceptance of the argument that a 5,000 strong mob (according to the police/SIT; witnesses say 15,000) got “really provoked only after the firing from a private weapon by former parliamentarian Ehsan Jafri.”
Three pages of the 1,345 page verdict delivered today and accessed by SabrangIndia appears to completely negate any and all of the evidence related to the violent acts between 9 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. at Gulberg Society, Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002 when the mob had gathered. On June 2, 2016 the Judge had first stated that he had not accepted charges of conspiracy around the eight hour long daylight mob attack on the Gulberg Society on February 28, 2002. It appears that the discarding of the conspiracy charge by the Judge (a charge also not pressed by the SIT and its prosecutor RC Kodekar) hinges around the findings reflected below.
Police witnesses Arvindbhai Shankarbhai Vaghela (No.7), Dhanesing Becharsing (No.13), Natwarji Javanji Bhati (No. 269) have all stated that [joint police commissioner MK Tandon came with a striking force and police inspector KG Erda was present here on the road outside G.B. Society. There the two officers met each other. The former had with him a ‘Vrij’ vehicle with all the equipment. Mob gathered there and the police fired shells at the mob. KG Erda requested Tandon to send more force, but the latter left the area without any action].
Besides, eye witness testimonies have stated that violent members of the mob forcibly closed down shops at 9 am, attacked the Ankur Cycle shop at 10 am, burned down a rickshaw between 10-10.30 am. Witnesses have also testified to the commissioner of police, PC Pande coming to the society and leaving around 10.30 a.m.
Yet judge PB Desai finds that the well-armed mob that had gathered for well over four hours on the morning of February 28, 2002 only got really violent around 1.30 pm after the reported incident of Ehsan Jafri’s firing.
This is not only a complete insult to the life, work and memory of my father, Ehsan Jafri who worked and lived among his people but it makes a mockery of the sacrifice he gave of his life to save the life of others. What were the 24 police officers present doing for four hours, watching the show? The Judgement not only appears to have ignored the violent build up but appears to have been standing some of the evidence on its head. We will soldier on till we get justice
-Tanveer Jafri, son of Ahsan Jafri
Ironically, these readings from the judgment seem perilously close to the arguments of the defence council over the past week, seeking a reduction of the sentence. Crucially, these arguments ignore the testimony of police witnesses that have stated that joint commissioner MK Tandon came to the Gulberg society around 10.30 am with a vehicle fully armed and a ‘strike force’ but left the area without leaving the strike force behind to protect the