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Second Best Bakery witness identifies 5

November 01, 2004 23:43 IST

Deposing before a special court, a witness on Monday identified five persons as members of the group that attacked the Best Bakery in Vadodara, Gujarat, on March 1, 2002, and killed 14 people.

The 19-year-old witness, Raees Khan Pathan, who used to prepare biscuits at the bakery, walked up to the accused and identified Sanabhai Baria, Dinesh Rajbhar, Suresh Vasava, Pankaj Gosai and Shailesh Tadvi.

Pathan was the second witness to depose in the case.

The first witness, Toufel Ahmed, had earlier identified Baria, Rajbhar and Vasava and four others who had attacked the bakery during the riots in Gujarat.

Defence lawyer Adhik Shirodkar alleged that someone was helping the witnesses with their testimonies. "Someone has been telling them to add things," he said.

But Pathan denied the charge. "Nobody is teaching me."

Special Judge Abhay Thipsay also dismissed the allegation saying whatever Pathan said was "elementary and showed that he is anxious to say things".

Pathan also showed the court the injuries he had received during the incident.

He said he was sitting outside the bakery with his co-workers when he saw 15-20 people coming towards them and hurling stones at them. "They dispersed when the police came," he said, adding that later he saw a mob of over 1,000 people encircling the bakery with torches and swords in their hands.

The defence lawyer then pointed out to discrepancies between Pathan's first police statement recorded on March 2, 2002, and his deposition.

In 2002, Pathan told the police that he was sitting on the first floor of the bakery when the attack took place, and in his deposition he said he was sitting in front of the bakery.

Pathan had not been examined during the trial that took place in Vadodara, in which all the 21 accused were acquitted. He said he never received summons for the same.

The Supreme Court had in April 2004 quashed the acquittals and ordered a reinvestigation and retrial in the case.

Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Arijit Pasayat also directed that the trial be transferred outside Gujarat and a new public prosecutor be appointed.

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