The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the conviction of 10 men in the 2003 murder case of former Gujarat Home Minister Haren Pandya, reported ANI. A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Vineet Saran dismissed the review petitions filed in the case against the court’s July 5 judgement.
Pandya, a Bharatiya Janata Party leader, was shot dead on March 26, 2003 in Ahmedabad while he was out on a morning walk. According to the Central Bureau of Investigation, Pandya was murdered to avenge the 2002 communal riots in the state.
“We have perused the review petitions and record of the appeals and are convinced that the order, of which review has been sought, does not suffer from any error apparent warranting its reconsideration,” the bench said, according to News18. “The review petitions are, accordingly, dismissed.”
A trial court had convicted 12 people for the murder of Pandya in June 2007. However, the High Court acquitted all of them in 2011, saying the investigation was botched and misdirected. The High Court, however, upheld the trial court’s decision to convict them on charges of criminal conspiracy, attempt to murder and for the offences under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
On July 5, the Supreme Court set aside the Gujarat High Court judgement and convicted all 12 accused for murder. The top court sentenced nine out of the 12 convicts to life imprisonment. Others were sentenced to varying jail terms.
Last year, a key witness in the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case had alleged in a trial court in Mumbai that former Gujarat police officer DG Vanzara had given Sheikh a contract to kill Pandya.