Maulvi Hussain Umarji, a local cleric from Godhra, was branded as the key conspirator in the Sabarmati Express train carnage.
However, the 70-year-old Maulana Umarji came out unscathed when the special court acquitted him from all charges on Tuesday.
Later on he headed for his home in Godhra, a free man.
The arrest of Umarji had sparked high controversy as the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the state government had projected him as the key conspirator of the case.
The Maulana's arrest was made after an accused and key conspirator, Jabir Binyamin Behra, confessed that the Godhra incident happened as per instructions given by Maulana Umarji. A couple of other witnesses also stated that Razak Kurkur, owner of the Aman Guest House, had told them to bring petrol as instructed by Umarji, to burn the coach of the Sabarmati Express train.
However, during the trial the accused denied that they gave such a confessional statement. Maulana's son Saeed Umarji handled the trial against him and some other accused. Since the arrest of his father, Saeed has pleaded before many forums that the Maulvi was innocent, and finally on Tuesday, the court proved that to be true.
According to the prosecution's case, the Maulvi was among the key conspirators along with Razak Kurkur, Salim Paanwala, Faruk Bhana and others.