Bilkis Bano case: Bombay HC rejects CBI's death plea
The Bombay High Court on Thursday rejected a CBI plea seeking a death sentence for at least three of the 11 convicts accused of gangraping Bilkis Bano, a 19-year-old pregnant woman, and brutally murdering 14 members of her family, including her three-old daughter, in Randhikpur near Ahmedabad, during the Gujarat riots of 2002.
A division bench of justice VK Tahilramani and Mridula Bhatkar set aside the acquittal of five policemen in the same case and directed the Central Bureau of Investigation agency to probe them.The agency has alleged that the policemen connived with the convicts by "fudging documents and compromising the inquest panchnama."
The CBI had sought the death penalty for Jaswant Nai, Govind Nai, and Sailesh Bhatt, saying there was direct evidence that they brutally gang raped Bilkis, who was five months pregnant, and her sister and her mother. Sailesh Bhatt also allegedly snatched Bilkis' three-year-old daughter from her and crushed her head on a stone. The child died on the spot.
On March 3, 2002, at the height of the Gujarat riots following the Godhra train burning, Bilkis Bano and her family members were attacked by a riotous mob in Devgad-Baria village near Dahod.