news Monday, July 27, 2015 - 05:30
  All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Sunday, alleged that the Gujarat government under Narendra Modi had saved former minister Mayaben Kodnani and Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi from a death sentence.   Kodnani and Bajrangi were awarded a life sentence in jail in 2011 for their role in the Naroda Patiya massacre case.    The Lok Sabha MP from Hyderabad was addressing a public meeting in the city on the death anniversary of former AIMIM president and his father, Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi.   "Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi were convicted by a court which sentenced them to life imprisonment in connection with the killing of 92 persons. The prosecution wanted capital punishment. But Modi, who was then Gujarat chief minister, asked prosecution not to appeal against the ruling (in HC) and let the punishment be life sentence," a Times of India report quotes him as saying.   AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi had earlier sparked a row by saying Mumbai bomb blasts convict Yakub Memon was being hanged because he belonged to a particular religion while the death sentences of those convicted in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi were commuted to life imprisonment.   In response, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday said efforts were being made to give communal colour to the death penalty to Memon and asked people not to question the court verdict.    The Supreme Court will on Monday hear a plea by Memon, who has sought a stay on his execution set for July 30.   Meanwhile, eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani and leaders from four political parties were among around 200 people who on Sunday urged President Pranab Mukherjee to reconsider Memon's mercy plea.   The signatories included BJP's Shatrughan Sinha, Congress's Mani Shankar Aiyer, CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury, CPI's D. Raja, actor Naseeruddin Shah, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, activist Tushar Gandhi, lawyer Vrinda Grover and economist Jean Dreze.   Owaisi's statements are made around one hour into the speech.   With IANS
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