The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to stay the conviction of an IPS officer for tampering of evidence in the 2002 Bilkis Bano case.
Justices A K Sikri and Deepak Gupta of the vacation bench of the apex court said that there is no urgency for hearing the matter as the convicted officer had already undergone the sentence.
Observing the fine to be Rs 15,000 only, the bench listed the matter for hearing in the second week of July.
IPS officer R S Bhagora, currently serving in Gujarat, was convicted along with four other policemen by the Bombay High Court recently after the trial court had acquitted them.
The defence lawyer appearing for Bhagora said if the apex court did not stay the conviction, then he will be terminated from the service as per service rules.
The Bombay High Court on May 4 reversed the trial court verdict acquitting Bhagora and others and had upheld the conviction of 11 people in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case.
Two doctors were also convicted by the HC along with five policemen.
The High Court bench had said that the seven persons which include doctors and the policemen are convicted under sections 218 (not performing their duties) and section 201 (tampering of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
A special court on January 21, 2008, had sentenced to life imprisonment 11 men for raping Bilkis and murdering seven of her family members in the aftermath of the Godhra riots. The court had acquitted seven persons including the policemen and doctors.
The convicts later approached the Bombay high court challenging their conviction and sought for the trial court’s order to be set aside.
The CBI had also filed an appeal in the high court seeking punishment of death for three of the convicted persons on the ground that they were the main perpetrators of the crime.
According to the prosecution, on March 3, 2002, Bilkis Bano’s family was attacked by a mob at Randhikpur village near Ahmedabad during the post-Godhra riots and seven members of her family were killed.
Bilkis, who was five months pregnant at the time, was gang raped while six other members of her family managed to escape from the mob. The trial in the case began in Ahmedabad.
The Supreme Court transferred the case to Mumbai in August 2004 after Bilkis expressed apprehensions that witnesses could be harmed and the CBI evidence tampered with.