Ahmedabad/New Delhi : Maya Kodnani, who resigned Friday as Gujarat's
minister for higher education, surrendered later in the day before the
Special Investigation Team (SIT) that has named her as among those who
led mobs in the Naroda Gaam and Naroda Patiya localities here in which
106 people were killed during the 2002 communal riots in the state.

Kodnani quit from her post Friday morning after the Gujarat High Court
rejected her anticipatory bail plea. She was joined by former Vishwa
Hindu Parishad (VHP) general secretary Jaideep Patel who also
surrendered before the SIT.

The BJP immediately distanced itself from Kodnani, saying the law
would take its own course, while the Congress said the party had it

"Once the decision has come from the Gujarat High Court, the party
asked her to resign. She resigned. Rest, the law will take its own
course," BJP spokesperson Balbir Punj told reporters in New Delhi.

"It was coming. Slowly, slowly, the crimes in Gujarat will unravel,"
Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal said in New Delhi.

Kodnani and Patel arrived together at the SIT office at the Old
Secretariat in adjacent Gandhinagar and surrendered to a senior
official. While Kodnani refused to comment, Patel told reporters: "I
have faith in the judiciary regarding the decision taken by it. I
respect the Gujarat High Court's decision."

In its plea to the Gujarat High Court, the Supreme court appointed SIT
stated that Kodnani was evading arrest even after being named by
witnesses who submitted that they saw the minister in the localities
on that day.

Witnesses in the Kodnani case also told SIT that they were being
harassed over the phone and told to drop charges against the minister.

The Godhra train burning led to widespread attacks on Muslims in the
state, leading to 1,180 people, mostly Muslims, being killed.

Earlier Friday, the Gujarat High Court rejected Kodnani's anticipatory
bail plea, stating that her role in leading mobs during 2002 sectarian
violence was "nothing less than organised crime".

In his order, Justice D.H. Waghela said: "Maya Kodnani was leading a
mob but still did not control them (mob). This is nothing less than
organised crime."

He also rejected the plea of Kodnani's defence lawyer who sought more
time for her to file an appeal in the Supreme Court.

Kodnani's surrrender came on the day the BJP's prime ministerial
candidate L.K. Advani and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi were to
address a public meeting here to kick off the party's Lok Sabha
campaign in the state. Advani will contest the election from

The state government put up a brave face, saying the court ruling
against Kodnani was not an embarrassment to the BJP.

"This is not at all an embarrassment," said a Gujarat government
spokesperson, adding that nobody could be pronounced guilty "till the
last word" had been spoken.

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