Ahmedabad/Nagpur: A court of Ahmedabad on Thursday acquitted 36 of the 66 accused in the 2002 Gulbarg society communal riots case relating to the massacre of 69 persons, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri.
BJP corporator Bipin Patel is among the 36 acquitted.
Special Court judge PB Desai delivered the judgment eight months after the trial concluded on September 22, last year.
The trial court had earlier given its verdict on August 29, 2012, convicting 32 accused including a minister in the Gujarat government.
Among the 66 accused named by the SIT in the case, nine are behind bars since 14 years, while others are out on bail. As many as 338 witnesses were examined in the case.
The Gulbarg Society case is one of the nine cases of the 2002 Gujarat riots probed by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team.
The Gulbarg Society massacre took place on February 28, during the 2002 Gujarat riots, when a mob attacked the society in Ahmedabad.
A large number of houses were burnt, and 39 persons were burnt alive, 30 others, including Jafri, went missing. However, after seven years, the missing persons were presumed dead.
The Supreme Court had stayed the trial in major Gujarat cases on petitions filed by the National Human Rights Commission and the Citizens for Justice and Peace, who sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation and transfer of the cases outside Gujarat.
The apex court bench on March 26, 2008, directed the Gujarat government to constitute an SIT, headed by former Central Bureau of Investigation chief R K Raghavan, in the case.