The Special Court trying the 2002 Naroda Gaam massacre case on Friday rejected the plea of Rais Khan Pathan to enlist him as a witness and ordered the city civil court registrar to initiate proceedings against him for filing false evidences.
Mr. Pathan, a former close aide of Teesta Setalvad, secretary, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), a Mumbai-based voluntary organisation which was fighting for the 2002 Gujarat riot victims, in an application before the court admitted having filed “fabricated evidences” but had claimed that the falsifications were at the behest of Ms. Setalvad. He also requested the court to enlist him as a witness in the case to enable him to “expose” the “misdeeds” of Ms. Setalvad.
Mr. Pathan was the co-ordinator of the CJP in Ahmedabad and was responsible for filing affidavits in various courts and commissions on behalf of the riot victims and witnesses before he was removed from the services by the CJP in January 2008. The CJP claimed that Mr. Pathan was “found very close to VHP and BJP leaders” to the detriment of the interests of the riot victims and he was also allegedly involved in misappropriating CJP funds meant for the riot victims. This forced the CJP board of trustees to remove him.
Additional Sessions judge S.H. Vora, while rejecting Mr. Pathan's plea, said: “The applicant is involved in fabricating false evidence with intention to attract capital punishment, or imprisonment for life or for seven years upwards to the accused in the case.” Issuing orders to initiate proceedings against Mr. Pathan and others, the judge also noted that the “applicant and other persons have made an attempt through affidavits as true declaration knowing fully well that the same are false.”
The case came up after three witnesses deposed before the court that Mr. Pathan had filed “false affidavits” in the Supreme Court. Mr. Pathan approached the court claiming that he was falsely implicated by the eye-witnesses in their depositions and that the false affidavits of those witnesses and many other victims of the 2002 riot cases were prepared at the behest of Ms. Setalvad with the intention that the trials would be shifted outside Gujarat by the Supreme Court. He requested the court to consider him as a witness under provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure to prove that the witnesses had falsely implicated him and had lied before the court.
The court, however, rejected his plea to consider him as a witness and ordered the registrar of the city civil court to initiate proceedings against him under Sections 193 to 196 and Section 200 of the IPC, which provide for prison term up to seven years for “intentionally giving false evidence.”
Keywords: Naroda Gaam massacre