Complete Best Bakery trial by Feb 28: SC | india | Hindustan Times
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Complete Best Bakery trial by Feb 28: SC

A bench consisting of judges Arijit Pasayat and HK Sema set the date following a request from the special court judge.

india Updated: Jan 03, 2006 20:09 IST

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked a special court in Mumbai to complete by February 28 its trial of a case related to the killing of 14 people at the Best Bakery in Vadodara during the 2002 sectarian violence in Gujarat.

A bench consisting of judges Arijit Pasayat and HK Sema set the date following a request from the special court judge that he would require time till the end of February to complete the trial.

Meanwhile, Zahira, a key witness to the massacre of 14 people at the Best Bakery, strongly objected to the report of the apex court-appointed Gupta Committee that described her as a "self condemned liar".

She said that despite concerted efforts, the identity of people who had induced her to change her stand in the case could not be ascertained.

Rights activist Teesta Setalvad had filed an application on November 6, 2004, demanding a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the circumstances that led Zahira to reverse her statement about having witnessed the killings.

The apex court had in January last year constituted a high-level committee headed by its Registrar General BM Gupta to probe the matter. Gupta co-opted Joint Commissioner of Police Kanwaljeet Deol to investigate the matter.

The panel had concluded that Zahira was likely to have been induced to turn hostile in the case.

Appearing for Zahira, counsel DK Garg argued before the bench Tuesday that the finding was a presumption based on presumption.

Garg asserted there was no concrete evidence but the inquiry officer was prejudiced to give some sort of a finding. He said the entire procedure adopted by the committee was not fair and objective.

In written objections, Zahira said the facts attributed to her by Setalvad were not placed by her but by Setalvad and that she was not privy to submissions that formed the basis of the judgment of the apex court in April 2004.

Zahira said many issues could have been answered by cross-examination but the inquiry was conducted in a manner that violated the rules of natural justice. Garg said the court should reject the Gupta Committee's report.

Further arguments in the matter will continue on Wednesday.