Defending the early launch of 11 males convicted of raping Bilkis Bano and killing her whole household within the 2002 Gujarat riots, the Gujarat authorities cited “good behaviour” and the Centre’s approval.
However the “good behaviour” declare has now been shredded by FIRs of harassment revealed towards the convicts, who spent 1000’s of days on parole even earlier than their untimely launch.
NDTV has accessed a number of FIRs and police complaints accusing the convicts of threatening and harassing witnesses whereas out on parole, which runs opposite to the “good behaviour” justification. The Gujarat authorities even claimed there was no proof of any wrongdoing by the convicts whereas they have been serving time.
Between 2017-2021, at the least 4 witnesses within the Bilkis Bano case registered complaints and FIRs towards the convicts, NDTV’s investigation reveals.
NDTV has accessed one FIR and two police complaints.
*An FIR dated July 6, 2020, was registered towards two of the convicts, Radheshyam Shah and Miteshbhai Bhatt.
The FIR was filed at Radhikpur police station in Dahod beneath sections 354 (assault or prison drive with intention to outrage modesty), 504 (intimidation), 506 (2) (risk to kill) and 114 (abetment) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) by Saberaben Patel, and a witness within the Bilkis Bano case, Pintubhai.
The FIR says three males, together with two convicts and Radheshyam’s brother Ashish, threatened Saberaben, her daughter Arfa and witness Pintubhai for implicating them with their statements.
* Mansuri Abdul Razzaq Abdul Majid, one other witness, filed a police criticism with Dahod police towards Sailesh Chimmanlal Bhatt on January 1, 2021. He, too, alleged threats from the convict whereas he was out on parole.
The criticism additionally alleges that Limkheda MLA Sailesh Bhai Bhabhor and former minister of state and Lok Sabha MP Jaswantsing Bhabhor felicitated Sailesh Chimmanlal Bhatt and praised him for “good deeds”. A photograph of the 2 BJP leaders sharing stage with Sailesh Bhatt was additionally connected within the criticism.
This criticism by no means changed into an FIR.
*Two different witnesses, Ghanchi Adambhai Ismailbhai and Ghanchi Imtiazbhai Yusufbhai, filed a criticism towards one of many convicts, Govind Nai, on July 28, 2017. The candidates alleged that the accused threatened to kill them in the event that they did not conform to “compromise”. This criticism additionally by no means changed into an FIR.
The convicts have been freed on August 15 Independence Day and greeted with garlands and sweets like heroes outdoors a jail in Gujarat.
The Supreme Court docket remarked yesterday that Gujarat’s reply to why the convicts have been freed quoted a sequence of judgments however missed factual statements.
“I’ve not come throughout a counter affidavit the place a sequence of judgments are quoted. Factual assertion ought to have been made. A really cumbersome counter. The place is the factual assertion, the place is the appliance of thoughts?” a bench headed by Justice Ajay Rastogi noticed.
Union Minister Prahlad Joshi defended the convicts’ launch, citing their “good behaviour”.
“When the federal government and the involved folks have taken the choice, I do not discover something incorrect in it as it’s a technique of legislation,” Prahlad Joshi, the Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister, advised NDTV.
Reacting to the outrage over the “legislation” for untimely launch utilized to convicts sentenced for what the CBI known as a “heinous, grave and critical” crime, the Minister echoed Gujarat’s “good behaviour” argument.
“After having been in jail for a while, if their behaviour…there are such a lot of incidents, I do not need to get into that,” Mr Joshi stated.