New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday granted bail to Babu Bajrangi, one of the convicts in the Naroda Patiya case. The bail has been granted on health grounds.

A former Bajrang Dal leader, Babu Bajrangi was sentenced to 21 years in jail in the Naroda Patiya massacre case in which 97 people were killed by a mob during the 2002 Gujarat riots.  However, the state government had informed the apex court that he was in “bad shape” due to various ailments.

The state government had said that medical reports suggested that Bajrangi had suffered a hundred per cent vision loss besides various other ailments.

A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi had then asked the counsel for Gujarat government to file the medical reports on an affidavit as it needed to be taken on record.

“Let them (Gujarat) file an affidavit. We will hear you on merit,” the bench had said.

Yet earlier, in January, the apex court had granted bail to four convicts in the same case. These were Umeshbhai Bharwad, Rajkumar, Harshad and Prakashbhai Rathod.

The bench granted bail to the quartet on the chief ground that the high court verdict of conviction was ‘debatable’ and that they should be released on bail since their appeal would take much time for disposal.

The apex court expressed serious doubts over three of the convictions. The Supreme Court, while deciding the bail plea, also noted that the Gujarat HC had primarily relied upon identification of these convicts by police officials but in some cases, no identification parade was conducted and the appeals raised doubt over their identification in a group of around 15,000 persons.