Mumbai: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnav on Tuesday said the facilitation of convicts in the 2002 Bilkis Bano case was wrong and there can be no justification for such an act.
“The accused have been freed after completing 14 years in jail. They were released after a Supreme Court order. But it is wrong if any accused is felicitated and welcomed. An accused is an accused and there can be no justification for this (act)”, Fadnavis said while replying to a discussion in the Legislative Council.
Earlier on 15th August, all the 11 convicts sentenced to life imprisonment for gang-raping Bilkis Bano and murdering her seven family members during the 2002 communal riots walked out of the Godhra sub-jail after the BJP government in Gujarat allowed their premature release under its remission policy.
They were welcomed with garlands following their release from jail. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), whose MLAs were on the Gujarat government-appointed remission committee, faced flak over the release of the convicts and the welcome accorded to them.
A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Mumbai on January 21, 2008, sentenced the eleven accused to life imprisonment on the charge of gang rape and murder of seven members of the family of Bilkis Bano, a riot survivor.
These convicts had served more than 15 years in jail after which one of them approached the Supreme Court with a plea for his premature release. The apex court had directed the Gujarat government to look into the issue of remission of his sentence as per its 1992 policy based on the date of his conviction.
The government formed a committee and issued an order allowing the premature release of all the convicts from jail