New Delhi: Pronouncing its verdict in the Haren Pandya murder case, the Supreme Court on Friday junked the high court ruling that had acquitted the accused. Instead, it upheld the conviction of the 12 accused handed out by the trial court. (Also read: ‘Sohrabuddin Shaikh Killed Pandya on DG Vanzara’s Orders,’ Witness Tells Court)

The apex court upheld the life term sentence handed out by the trial court. It also dismissed with a cost of Rs 50,000 a PIL filed by NGO CPIL that had sought a fresh, court-monitored probe in the case claiming that facts had emerged which demanded a fresh investigation.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra allowed the appeals of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Gujarat government challenging the high court order by which the convicts were absolved of murder charges in the case.

In January this year, the apex court had reserved its verdict on the appeals by the probe agency and the Gujarat government against the acquittal of the accused. The appeals were filed by the CBI and the state police questioning the 2011 acquittal by the Gujarat High Court.

While acquitting the 12 of murder charges, the High Court had upheld the trial court’s decision to convict them of the charges of criminal conspiracy, attempt to murder and for the offences under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA).

According to CBI, prior to Pandya’s killing, the convicts had made tried to murder a local VHP leader Jagdish Tewari on March 11, 2003. The agency had claimed these two incidents were part of a single conspiracy to spread terror among people in the aftermath of post-Godhra riots.