Justice Hemant M Prachak, who is to hear Rahul Gandhi’s defamation case on April 29 at Gujarat High Court, was one of the lawyers of former BJP Minister Maya Kodnani who was accused in the Gujarat riots cases of 2002.
Justice Prachak defended Kodnani in criminal case number 1708/12 against the Special SIT court in one of the cases following riots in Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gam areas of Ahmedabad in February 2002 where more than a hundred Muslims, including women and children, were killed. Noticeably, all the accused of the Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gam cases were acquitted a week back by the Special Court in Gujarat.
Hemant Prachak started practice in the High Court of Gujarat, and thereafter he worked as Assistant Government Pleader and Additional Public Prosecutor from 2002 to 2007. Following which he was the Central Government Standing Counsel for the High Court of Gujarat between 2015 and 2019 before being appointed a judge in 2021.
Also read: Kodnani’s political career to revive after 2nd Gujarat riots case acquittal
A Surat Sessions Court on April 20 rejected the application filed by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi seeking stay on his conviction in the 2019 “Modi surname” defamation case. The court of additional sessions judge RP Mogera rejected Rahul’s application for a relief pending his appeal against a lower court’s order sentencing him to two years in jail in the case.
Judge Robin Paul Mogera was Amit Shah’s lawyer
Noticeably, Judge Robin Paul Mogera, who heard Rahul Gandhi’s appeal in a Surat court in the Modi surname defamation case, was Union home minister Amit Shah’s lawyer in the 2006 Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter case.
After getting no relief from the Surat Sessions Court, Rahul Gandhi has approached the Gujarat high court.
Also read: Rahul plea against ‘Modi surname’ case conviction: Verdict on April 20
However, Justice Geeta Gopi, in whose court the defamation case was to be heard on April 27, had recused herself from hearing the case. Rahul’s lawyer Pankaj Champaneri had appealed that the criminal revision application be heard on an urgent basis.
However, Justice Gopi, while allowing the application, recused herself, saying ‘not before me’.