All 11 life imprisonment convicts in the 2002 Bilkis Bano gang-rape case walked out of the Godhra sub-jail under the Gujarat government's remission policy, news agency PTI reported.
"A committee formed a few months back took a unanimous decision in favour of remission of all the 11 convicts in the case. The recommendation was sent to the state government, and yesterday we received the orders for their release," said Panchmahals collector Sujal Mayatra.
On 21 January 2008, a special CBI court in Mumbai had sentenced the 11 accused to life imprisonment on the charge of gang-rape and murder of seven members of Bilkis Bano's family. The Bombay High Court had late their conviction.
These convicts had served more than 15 years in jail after which one of them approached the Supreme Court with a plea for his premature release.
The Supreme Court had directed the Gujarat government to look into the issue of remission of his sentence following which the government formed a committee, said Panchmahals collector Sujal Mayatra, who headed the panel.
What's the Bilkis Bano case?
Bano was 21 years old and five-months pregnant when she was sexually assaulted in Randhikpur village near Ahmedabad on 3 March 2002, while fleeing the violence that broke out in the aftermath of the Sabarmati train incident in Godhra. Her three children were also killed during the anti-Muslim riots.
The trial in Bano's case initially began in Ahmedabad. When Bano expressed apprehensions over witnesses being harmed, the top court, in August 2004, transferred the case to Mumbai.
On 21 January 2008, a special court convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment 11 men for the incident. It, however, acquitted seven persons including the policemen and two doctors who were accused of tampering with evidence.