Zaheera to face sessions court on Monday

Zaheera will appear in a sessions court, along with three of her family members to reply to a show cause notice issued for perjury.

india Updated: Mar 19, 2006 17:03 IST

Prime witness in the Best Bakery case Zaheera Shaikh will appear in a sessions court in Mumbai on Monday, along with three of her family members to reply to a show cause notice issued for perjury.

The court, while delivering its verdict in the Best Bakery trial, issued notices to Zaheera, her mother Sehrunissa sister Sahira and brothers, Nasibullah and Nafitullah. However, Nafitullah passed away some time ago, leaving the four others to appear before the court on Monday.

The court issued notices to Zaheera and her family members, who had turned hostile asking them to show cause why they should not be prosecuted for perjury (giving false evidence). They had been asked to reply by March 20.

While appearing in court on Thursday Zaheera did yet another volte face, telling the court that she wanted to spend the jail term awarded by the Supreme Court, in Vadodara and therefore may be handed over to Gujarat police.

When Zaheera had surrendered before the court here on March 10 in keeping with the Supreme Court order, she urged for serving sentence in a Maharashtra jail and not in Gujarat prison as she apprehended threat to her life.

On February 24, nine persons were sentenced to life imprisonment for murder of 14 persons in the Best Bakery case by the sessions court.

Altogether 17 accused faced the trial on charges of rioting and murdering 14 persons, who had taken refuge in the Best Bakery on Hanuman Tekdi at Vadodara on March one, 2002, in the post-Godhra riots. Four other accused are absconding.

On March 8, the Supreme Court had sentenced Zaheera to one-year jail term and fined her Rs 50,000 for her flip-flops in the Best Bakery trial and for changing her version frequently.

The apex court severely reprimanded Zaheera for turning hostile during the trial and accepted the report of the Supreme Court-appointed high-powered inquiry committee, which had indicted her as a "self-condemned liar."

In the communal flare up in Gujarat following the Sabarmati Express train carnage, Best Bakery was set afire on March one, 2002, by a violent crowd at Hanuman Tekdi at Vadodara, killing 14 persons who had taken refuge in the premises.

Zaheera, who along with her family survived the bakery fire, had moved the apex Court alleging that all the 21 accused in the case had been acquitted by the Gujarat court as she had turned hostile because of threats issued to her.

First Published: Mar 19, 2006 17:03 IST