The Bombay High Court on Thursday convicted denied death penalty for the convicts of the Bilkis Bano gangrape case. Five police officers who were earlier acquitted have been convicted by the Bombay High Court. The court has also set aside the acquittal of 6 persons, including doctors and policemen and convicted them for tampering of evidence in the case.
The convicts were sentenced to life by a trial court in 2008 in connection with the gangrape of Bilkis Bano and for murdering her family members amid the 2002 Godhra riots. The convicts had approached the High Court challenging the case against them.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had sought a death sentence for at least three of the 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano gang-rape case that took place in Gujarat in March 2002.
The five policemen convicted in the case will now have to undergo an investigation by the CBI. The court has also said that while it will consider the time that the convicts have spent in jail as part of their sentence, they will impose a fine on them.
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.
Appearing for the CBI, Hiten Venegaonkar called this a case of “mass murder” and since it belonged to the “rarest of rare” category and warranted the maximum punishment. Advocate Harshad Ponda who represented the convicts had questioned the chronology of the events that Bilkis had narrated.