Seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the matter, Gujarat Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Madhu Srivastava has charged social activist Teesta Setalvad and her associates with tutoring Best Bakery case key witness Zahira Sheikh to give statements against him.
Srivastava, against whom a Supreme Court appointed inquiry Committee has made certain adverse remarks, in an
affidavit, alleged that he was implicated in the case at the behest of a Congress leader and key aide of Teesta.
"The court may direct CBI inquiry into how statements were given by Zahira involving him while she was in custody of
Teesta (after July 27, 2003 verdict of a Fast Track Court of Vadodra acquitting all the accused) and what were the motives and conspiracy behind it. The persons guilty should be severly punished," Srivastava, who has been served with a notice by the apex Court, said in his reply.
Accusing Teesta of inducing Zahira and her family, the MLA from Vadodara alleged Mohammad Vora, whose aspiration to be a Mayor could not materialise due to his opposition, used the opportunity to settle political scores during Gujarat riots.
"Thus implicating Srivastava, who was at that time a BJP MLA, was the most convenient thing to do, and such an
allegation would have also achieved political mileage at the same time ensuring that... he would also be maligned," his
counsels Manoj Goel and Shuvodeep Roy alleged.
"The Congress party, for the elections, found it a very exploitable situation to their advantage and thus, first through Mohammad Vora and others and later through Teesta, flared up the story cooked up by them and got narrated through Zaheera by putting words in her mouth," Srivastava alleged.
Srivastava alleged that Congress and Communist Party used the tutored statements of Zahira during the General
elections in 2004 for demoralising BJP cadres and for swinging the neutral voters. The apex court committee, which indicted Zahira for giving inconsistent statements pertaining to the case, has passed certain adverse remarks against 11 people, including Srivastava, and sought their reply.
The notices were also served to Congress Corporator Chandrakant Bathu Srivastava, Tushar Vyas, Zaheera's brother Nafitullah Sheikh, Shehrunisha Sheikh, Mihir Desai, Bhagesh Jha (Collector Vadodra), Atul Mistry, Shailesh Patel, Sannaullah Kamal and Bharat Thakur.
A Bench comprising Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice H K Sema fixed January 3 next for hearing the matter. The Bench had asked Zahira's counsel P N Lekhi and senior advocate Harish Salve, who is amicus curae in the matter, to suggest whether report could be accepted or not.
"If the report is accepted then the consequences have to be addressed on the contingency," the Bench had said. The committee headed by B M Gupta, Registrar General of the Supreme Court, had indicted Zahira as "self-condemned liar falling to inducements by certain persons to give inconsistent statements during the trial of the case." It had given a clean chit to Setalvad of the charges of inducement levelled against her by Zahira.