The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved till tomorrow its order on the bail application of Prakash Rathod, one of the convicts in the 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre case. The order was reserved by a division bench comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi. Lawyer Aparna Bhatt, senior counsel who was asked by Justice Khanwilkar to appear and argue for victims/witnesses in the Naroda Patiya case, opposed the bail application of Rathod before the apex court. She submitted that bail should not be granted to Rathod as he had access to weapons and ammunition. She also made a mention of how Rathod was instructed to act. On the basis of witness' statements, Rathod's plea for bail was dismissed by courts, Bhatt said.
Additionally, the Gujarat government submitted a report to the apex court stating that his (Rathod) conduct in prison is bad and should not be granted bail at this stage. Rathod, however, claimed innocence in the case and told the court that he was in jail for a long time and he should be granted bail. "We will pass the order tomorrow," Justice Khanwilkar said after hearing the submissions from all the parties. According to the prosecution, the rioting took place on February 28, 2002, in Naroda Patiaya area of Ahmedabad in Gujarat, where an irate mob killed 97 people, most of them from a minority community. The massacre took place one day after the burning of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra, which had escalated into a massive riot.