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Best Bakery Case: 9 accused convicted
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February 24, 2006 12:35 IST
Last Updated: February 24, 2006 13:47 IST

Nine of the 17 people charged with torching the Best Bakery in Vadodara during the post-Godhra riots killing 14 people were Friday convicted and awarded life imprisonment by a sessions court in Mumbai.

Eight other accused in the case were acquitted by Judge Abhay Thipsay, who conducted the retrial in the Best Bakery carnage on Supreme Court orders.

The court issued show cause notices to all the witnesses, including Zaheera Shaikh, who had turned hostile asking them to show cause why they should not prosecuted for perjury.

The notices are made returnable on March 20.

The judge said he was not awarding capital punishment to the convicts because it could not be ascertained what were their specific roles in the crime.

Altogether 17 accused had faced the trial on charges of rioting and murdering 14 persons who had taken refuge in the Best Bakery at Hanuman [Images] Tekdi at Vadodara on March 1, 2002, in the post-Godhra riots.

Zaheera Shaikh, prime witness in the case, had moved the Supreme Court alleging that all the 21 accused in the case had been acquitted by the trial court in Gujarat and she had turned hostile because of threats issued to her.

The apex court, on April 12, 2004, asked a Mumbai court to conduct the retrial so that the accused were given a fair trial outside Gujarat and the witnesses deposed without any fear.

While ordering retrial, the apex court had quashed the lower court order acquitting the 21 persons. Four of them were untraceable and 17 were arrested and brought to Mumbai for retrial.

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