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SC overturns Gujarat HC verdict acquitting 12 in BJP ex-minister Haren Pandya murder case

Haren Pandya, former Gujarat home minister in Narendra Modi's state cabinet, was shot dead on 26 March 2003 when he was on a morning walk.

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday restored the conviction of all 12 accused by a trial court in connection with the murder of former Gujarat home minister Haren Pandya, overturning the Gujarat High Court verdict that had acquitted them.

Pandya, who was Gujarat’s home minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet, was shot dead on 26 March 2003 in Ahmedabad when he was out on a morning walk.

In 2007, a special court hearing cases pertaining to the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002, had convicted the 12 accused and awarded them a life sentence.

Also read: Sohrabuddin killed former Gujarat home minister Pandya: Witness tells trial court

CBI had challenged the HC verdict

The SC verdict came on a plea filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that had challenged the acquittal of the 12 accused by the Gujarat High Court on 29 August 2011. While acquitting them, the high court had pulled up the CBI for a “botched-up” probe.

The SC bench comprising judges Arun Mishra and Vineet Saran had reserved its verdict on the CBI plea filed in January this year.

The apex court, however, dismissed a plea filed by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) seeking a court-monitored investigation into the case, and imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on it. The CPIL had sought a court-monitored probe on grounds of “new pieces of information that have come to light…”

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