Search:



The Web

Rediff








Home > News > The Gujarat Riots > PTI > Report


Best Bakery case: Zaheera turns hostile

December 21, 2004 15:16 IST
Last Updated: December 21, 2004 15:22 IST


Zaheera Sheikh, prime witness in the Best Bakery case, was on Tuesday declared hostile by the prosecution after she went back on her statement to the police during the retrial in a special court in Mumbai.

She is the seventh witness to turn hostile.

Others who did not support the prosecution include Zaheera's mother Sehrunissa, sister Saira, brothers Nafitullah and Nasibullah, and two independent witnesses.

During examination by prosecutor Manjula Rao, Zaheera told designated judge Abhay Thipsay that her maternal uncle, Quaser, was not present in the Best Bakery when it was set on fire by a group of persons on March 1, 2002.

In her police statement, Zaheera had said that Quaser was present at the bakery at the time of the incident. In police records, however, he is shown as missing.

Zaheera told the court that she had signed only one document and that was the FIR, but did not know its contents.

The key witness also said she did not see anything on the day when the Best Bakery was set on fire as there was lot of smoke and fire all around and missiles were thrown by the mob at the terrace of the bakery where she and others had taken shelter.

Zaheera said only her sister Sabira was on the first floor of the bakery when it was set on fire. However, police records show that Sabira and some others, including Shabnam and Ruksana, were present on the first floor.

Soon after this, the prosecutor declared her hostile as she did not support the prosecution's case.

Altogether 14 persons died when the bakery was set afire on March 1, 2002 by an irate mob in the post-Godhra riots. A total of 22 accused are being tried for the crime.

In a U-turn on November 3, Zaheera filed an affidavit before the Vadodara collector saying she was pressured by social activist Teesta Setalvad to name innocent persons as accused before the special court in Mumbai conducting the re-trial.

She had also denied meeting BJP MLA Madhu Shrivastav, who she had accused of threatening her from stating the truth before a fast track court in Vadodara.

In another turnaround, she had said that the judgment passed by the fast track court Judge H U Mahida was correct.

With Teesta's support, Zaheera had earlier moved the Supreme Court for a re-trial outside Gujarat. Following her petition, the apex court had ordered transfer of the case to a Mumbai court and also rapped the state government regarding protection to riot witnesses.

© Copyright 2005 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
The Gujarat Riots: The Complete Coverage

Share your comments


 What do you think about the story?




Read what others have to say:


Number of User Comments: 1




Sub: Best Bakery case

Dear Sir, Unfortunately, there is nobody close to Zahira to let her know that she is getting into deeper trouble with the Judiciasry of this ...


Posted by UTPAL DESAI




Disclaimer




Article Tools
Email this article
Top emailed links
Print this article
Write us a letter
Discuss this article










Copyright © 2005 rediff.com India Limited. All Rights Reserved.