The Telegraph
Thursday , February 13 , 2014
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Maya suicide plea gets SC attention

- Court agrees to hear bail petition

New Delhi, Feb. 12: The Supreme Court has agreed to consider the bail application of Maya Kodnani after the former Gujarat minister, jailed for 28 years in a 2002 riot case, filed an appeal saying she was suffering from acute depression and had developed “suicidal tendencies”.

“Mr Jethmalani, we have to hear the other side (the Gujarat government and the special investigation team) also. If she is in a pitiable condition, we may consider. But you need to file some additional documents. We will hear the matter tomorrow at 10.30am,” a bench of Justices H.L. Dattu and S.A. Bobde told senior counsel Ram Jethmalani who appeared for Kodnani.

The former minister, a gynaecologist by profession, is now out on a three-month temporary bail that Gujarat High Court had granted on November 12 on medical grounds. The bail expires on Friday.

Kodnani had approached the high court again for extending the bail, saying her health was deteriorating, but her plea was dismissed on February 6. She then approached the apex court.

In her appeal filed through counsel Gaurav Goel and Pragya Baghel, Kodnani said the high court had failed to appreciate medical reports that showed she was suffering from acute depression and had developed suicidal tendencies and needed “continuous human attention”.

According to her counsel, Kodnani is also suffering from intestinal TB, contracted during her 14 months in jail, apart from heart (Mitral valve prolapse, grade-I) and ear problems, among other ailments.

In her appeal, Kodnani said the high court had “failed to appreciate” that the petitioner had submitted on record reports of doctors showing that she was suffering from “acute mental depression” and had “developed suicidal tendencies”.

“It is submitted that if continuous human attention is not given to the petitioner, then she may commit suicide and end her life,” her appeal said.

Kodnani, 58, had been convicted by a trial court in August 2012 for the Naroda Patiya massacre, considered to be one of the bloodiest of the riots. According to the special investigation team, the former women and child development minister played a key role in the slaughter of more than 90 people in the Ahmedabad locality that day. Among the dead were 32 women and 33 children.

The court had described the pogrom as “horrendous”, a “blot on democracy” and a “rarest of rare” crime.

The judge — who had also convicted 30 others for the February 28, 2002, massacre — described Kodnani as the “kingpin”.