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She?s at it again, Zahira prefers Gujarat jail now

Zahira Sheikh hasn?t learnt her lesson, despite the Supreme Court giving her a year?s jail sentence for lying on oath.

india Updated: Mar 18, 2006 19:06 IST

Zahira Sheikh hasn’t learnt her lesson, despite the Supreme Court giving her a year’s jail sentence for lying on oath. Or so it seems from her statement in the special court on Thursday. Once the star witness in the Best Bakery case, Zahira rolled back her statement to Judge A.M. Thipsay on March 10 that she would rather serve her sentence in a Mumbai jail. She told the same judge that she now preferred to be in a Gujarat prison because of ‘ill-treatment’ by the jail authorities.

She said, “Mujhe Vadodara jana hai. Yahan pe log mujhe mar dalenge. Yahan mujhe khana bhi nahi dete. (I want to go to Vadodara. People will kill me here. I am not being provided food, too).” Zahira told the judge on Thursday that the she was not given “proper” food and not allowed to perform namaz. With tears welling up, she said, “Mujhe yahan nahi rehna. Madam mere pe chillati rehti hai. Yahan pe log taklif dete hai. (I do not want to stay here. Madam (escort) keeps shouting at me. People keep troubling me).” The lady escort told the court that Zahira refuses jail food and asks for chicken and mutton dishes. “Unless her family gets food, we cannot provide her food from outside the jail. She also demands to sit outside the lock-up,” she said.

On being questioned by the court, the in-charge of the Bhoiwada police station lock-up denied that they were preventing her from performing namaz. “However, we cannot allow her to keep the dupatta with her as it is against the jail manual,” said senior police inspector Deepak Vishwasrao.

Zahira’s brother Nasibullah expressed his inability to deliver two meals a day to Zahira because of the distance between their resi dence and the jail. The court has now direct ed the officials of the Bhoiwada lock-up to al low her better facilities like home food and permission to offer namaz. Zahira, when asked several times, declined to answer the court’s query as to why she had repeatedly changed her statements. “Aap ko batana padega ki aapne yahan pe joothi zabani kyun di warna yahan pe bhi aap ko saja ho sakti hai. (You will have to explain why you lied before this court or you could be sentenced here too),” Judge Thipsay told Zahira.

First Published: Mar 18, 2006 19:06 IST