Witness in the Bilkis Bano case writes to CJI stating threat to lifetext_fields
Ahmedabad: In a letter to the Chief Justice of India U. Lalit, a prosecution witness in the Bilkis Bano case said that one of the key defendants had threatened him and that he was afraid for his life.
Eleven men were released from the Godhra sub-jail last month after a state government panel granted their request for sentence reduction. They had been convicted of mass rape and murder during the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Imtiaz Ghanchi, a witness from the same Singvad (Randhikpur) village as the convicts and Bilkis, claimed in his testimony that on September 15, while en route from Singvad to his current home in Devgadh Baria, Radheshyam Shah, a convict, passed him at the Piplod railway barricade and allegedly said, "What did you get by calling me an accused, I'm out now."
According to Ghanchi's statement dated September 19, Shah and the driver of his vehicle laughed before departing. After the incident, Ghanchi said that his life was in danger and that the prisoners should face "appropriate legal proceedings."
Additionally, copies of Ghanchi's submission were submitted to the Gujarat home secretary, NHRC, Dahod district collector, and Dahod police, NIE reported.
Ghanchi testified that he had observed two defendants, Pradeep Modhiya and Naresh Modhiya, throwing stones and chanting slogans in the area of Ghanchi's Randhikpur home on the day after the Godhra train burning incident. Naresh Modhiya, who had died during the trial, was the other defendant. When Ghanchi, his mother, and his sister saw a mob approaching, they fled their home and took refuge for two days in the home of Lalu Madiya Parmar. He had also testified that none of the mob members had entered Parmar's house, but that he had seen his residence torched and his belongings looted.