Gulbarg Society massacreA special SIT court, which had on June 2, convicted 24 accused in connection with a 2002 post-Godhra riots case of Gulberg Society, on Monday said that it will pronounce the quantum of sentence on June 17.

The special investigation (SIT) court had on June 10 fixed Monday as the next day of hearing after the two sides concluded the arguments on quantum of punishment.

After 14 long years, on June 2, Special sessions court judge P.B. Desai declared 36 of the 60 accused as ‘not guilty’.

The court rejected the conspiracy charge of the prosecution in the case.

An armed mob had set on fire the entire Gulbarg Housing Society in Ahmedabad’s Meghaninagar area, inhabited by members of the minority community, in broad day light killing 69 people.

While the charred bodies of 39 people were found from the spot after the arson, 30 other people were declared dead by the Special Investigation Team as there was no trace of them 12 years after the incident.

Of the 24 people convicted, the court found 11 persons guilty of murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and 13 others guilty of lesser crime.

All the 60 accused remained present in court while their family members thronged the court compound in large numbers.

The court had heard the case on a day-to-day basis on the instructions of the Supreme Court, which on February 22 this year, directed the sessions court to pronounce its verdict in three months time.

The Gulbarg massacre case is one of the nine major cases of the 2002 Gujarat violence which were probed by a Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT).

Earlier, the apex court while instructing the special court to expedite the hearing of the case had also said that the judgment should not be pronounced without its permission.

The SIT had named 66 accused in the case. Nine of them have been in jail for the last 14 years, while the remaining were out on bail.

(With PTI Inputs)