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Best Bakery verdict triumph of justice: NHRC

NHRC chairman welcomed perjury notice to Zahira for retracting her testimony.

india Updated: Mar 06, 2006 18:16 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Saturday hailed the conviction of nine people in the retrial of the Best Bakery case related to the 2002 Gujarat riots as a "triumph of justice".

NHRC chairman AS Anand also welcomed the perjury notice to main witness Zahira Sheikh for retracting her testimony.

"The verdict is a triumph of justice. It will restore confidence of the common man in rule of law," Anand said.

A special court in Mumbai on Friday found nine people guilty of killing 14 people in an arson attack on Vadodara's Best Bakery in 2002.

They were acquitted in the original trial in 2003 after Sheikh retracted her evidence.

The Mumbai court also issued a showcause notice to Sheikh and her family, asking them to explain why they turned hostile witnesses.

"It (the perjury notice) was absolutely necessary. Justice cannot be taken hostage," Anand said.

In 2004, the Supreme Court ordered a retrial of the high-profile case after the NHRC challenged the acquittal by a lower court of all the 21 accused.

Anand said an NHRC petition that sought protection of witnesses and victims of any crime was also pending with the Supreme Court.

The NHRC chief, however, refused comment on the acquittals in the Jessica Lal murder case, citing the High Court's suo-motu notice of the verdict.

First Published: Feb 25, 2006 14:19 IST