A special court on Monday convicted 22 culprits including retired police inspector M K Patel in connection with the Dipda Darwaza case, in which 11 people were killed during the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat.
The bench comprising of judge SC Srivastava acquitted other 61 suspects. Over 50 of the suspects were given the benefit of doubt, including former BJP MLA Prahlad Gosa and then Visnagar Municipality president Dahya Patel who were acquitted of all charges.
None of the 83 suspects were convicted for murder charges; instead the bench convicted 22 suspects for rioting and attempting to murder, while providing the benefit of doubt to the others.
Patel was found guilty of dereliction of duty. He was the first investigator in the Dipda Darwaza case.
Special Investigation Team (SIT), which took over the responsibility for probing the case, accused Patel of shielding the culprits and tapering with the evidences, eventually bringing him under the scanner.
Dipda Darwaza case was one among the nine of 2002 Gujarat riots cases investigated by Supreme Court-appointed SIT.
On Feb 28, 2002, a mob swooped down Dipda Darwaja area of Visnagar town in Mehsana district and killed 11 members of the same family, including children and women.
Initially, 85 persons were named in connection with the Dipda Darwaja case. One of the suspects was found to be teenager and the court referred his trial to a juvenile court. One of the suspects died during the course of trial. Eventually, 83 persons stood trial for the massacre case.
The subsequent communal massacre, which took place in 2002, occurred after 58 pilgrims who were returning from Ayodhya in the Sabarmati Express train at Godhra railway station were charred to death.
This incident led to a string of clashes between Hindus and Muslims, in which thousands of people were killed and several religious premises and other public properties were damaged. It is considered as one of the worst communal riots in Indian history.