Best Bakery case: 9 get life term
Seventeen people had been accused in connection with one of the worst post-Godhra massacres in Gujarat.india Updated: Feb 25, 2006 02:44 IST
Nine of the seventeen people accused in the infamous Best Bakery case have been convicted by a Mumbai sessions court. The remaining eight accused were acquitted.
In one of the worst post-Godhra massacres in Gujarat, 14 people had been burnt alive in Vadodara on March 1, 2002when a mob torched the bakery, owned by a Muslim family.
High security prevailed in and around the court room when all the 17 accused were brought to the court.
There were altogether 21 accused, of which 17were facing the trial while four are still absconding.
The case was first tried in a fast track court in Vadodara which had acquitted all the accused on July 27, 2003.
One of the members of the family, Zahira Sheikh, who had named the accused in her police statement, retracted her version in the Vadodara court following which all the 21 accused were acquitted.
National Human Rights Commission filed a special Leave Petition in Supreme Court requesting a retrial outside Gujarat.
Supreme Court on April 12, 2004 had ordered retrial in Mumbai and a special Judge Abhay Tipsay was appointed to hear the case. He framed charges against accused on September 22 last year.
In Mumbai court, Zahira and her two brothers turned hostile and did not support the prosecution case saying that they did not see the mob setting the bakery on fire.
However, Zahira's sister-in-law Yasmin supported the prosecution, saying that Zahira and her family were present at the bakery when the mob set fire to the bakery.
Midway throughthe trial, Zahira filed an affidavit in Gujarat court alleging that she was forced to give police statement by social workers Teesta Setalvad and Raez Khan.
First Published: Feb 24, 2006 11:44 IST