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The Supreme Court on Friday held guilty 12 accused in the 2003 murder case of former Gujarat home minister Haren Pandya.

The bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Vineet Saran quashed the Gujarat High Court judgment by which the accused were cleared of the murder charge but upheld the trial court verdict.

The trial court had held guilty the accused persons for the offence of murder and sentenced them to life imprisonment.

The bench also dismissed a PIL filed by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) seeking a court-monitored fresh probe in the case and further fined Rs 50,000.

Pandya was the home minister in the then Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government. Pandya was shot dead on March 26, 2003 in Ahmedabad.

The CBI had contended that Pandya was murdered to vindicate the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat.

Parvez Khan Pathan alias Athar Parvez, Mohammad Farooq alias Haji Farooq, Mohammad Parvez Abdul Kayum Sheikh, Asghar Ali, Mohammad Rauf, Shahnawaz Gandhi, Kalim Ahmeda alias Kalimullah, Aniz Machiswala, Mohammad Riaz Sareswala, Rehan Puthawala, Mohammad Yunus Sareswala and Mohammad Saifuddin were the accused in the case.

Gujarat Police initially was investigating the case but later on the case was handed over to the CBI.

—India Legal Bureau

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