The lawyers representing accused of Godhra train carnage have alleged in the court that one of the witnesses who testified before investigating officer then had died seven years before the 2002 incident.

The fact came to light after the court issued summons to one Malaji Odaji Marwadi, who had testified on recovery of weapons from some of the accused in the case in 2002.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) investigating the case tried to trace Marwadi, a resident of Bambhroli village of Godhra taluka in Panchmahal district.

But when SIT could not find him the prosecution filed a report before designated Judge P.R. Patel hearing the case, stating that Marwadi could not be traced and there was a possibility that he might have died during the course of trail.

However, defence lawyers Yusuf Charkha and others obtained records from the Godhra Municipality and brought it to the notice of the court that Marwadi had not died during the course of trial.

“The municipality records showed that Marwadi, who was one of the witnesses for recovery of weapons from accused had died in 1995, seven years before the Godhra train burning incident and we have put the records before the court,” Mr. Charkha told PTI.

Marwadi’s statement was recorded by Deputy Superintendent of Police P.K.C. Bawa, a former investigating officer in the case. Mr. Bawa is yet to testify before the special court.

Fifty nine persons, mostly kar sevaks where killed on February 27, 2002, when S6 coach of the Sabarmati Express was burnt near Godhra railway station.

Over 100 persons who have been accused in the case are lodged in the Sabarmati Jail here.

The trial in the case had begun last year almost seven years after the incident only after directions of the Supreme Court which had formed the SIT to further investigate the case along with eight other post—Godhra riot cases.