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Home > News > PTI

Lying in court: 1-year jail for Zaheera

March 08, 2006 11:27 IST
Last Updated: March 08, 2006 15:15 IST

The Supreme Court on Wednesday severely reprimanded Best Bakery case key witness Zaheera Sheikh, who had turned hostile during the trial, for her 'flip flops' and sentenced her to one year simple imprisonment with a fine of Rs 50,000 for contempt of court.

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Accepting the report of the high-powered inquiry committee, which had indicted her as a 'self-condemned liar,' a bench comprising Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice H K Sema said in case of default of payment of fine, Zaheera will undergo further imprisonment of one year.

Justice Pasayat, who read the judgement, said, "This is a classic example of a case where evidence were tampered with and witnesses won over."

Disapproving the conduct of Zaheera in the case, the bench directed the Income Tax authorities to attach her assets and bank accounts for three months. It also asked the Income Tax authorities to initiate proceedings to ascertain her source of income since year 2000 till today.

The court said the proceedings against Zaheera will be initiated in accordance with law and directed the Commissioner of Income Tax, Vadodara, to take appropriate action.

The Bench left it open to income tax authorities to inquire into the alleged sting operation showing controversial Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Madhu Srivastava and Congress Corporator Bathu Srivastava talking about payment of money to Zaheera.

While delivering the judgement, the bench spoke at length the role of witnesses in criminal trial as well as the role of court in dealing with the witnesses. "The court should not be a tape recording machine but play a participatory role," the bench observed, adding, "We find that people have started feeling that criminal trials are like cobweb where small flies are getting caught and big people are dashing through."

Expressing concern over trend of people losing faith in criminal trial, the bench said, "Courts have an over-riding duty to maintain public confidence and uphold the majesty of court."

The bench also spoke about the role of investigating officers and affect of defective investigation of case and said it is the duty of the court to find out truth. The court on January 10, 2005, had referred the matter for inquiry on being faced with the flip-flop of Zaheera much to the embarrassment of her one time protector and social activist Teesta Setalvad.

The then Registrar General of the apex court B M Gupta had enquired about allegations and counter allegations between Zaheera and Setalvad. The Committee, which had submitted its report on August 29, 2005, gave a clean chit to Setalvad on charges of inducement levelled against her by Zaheera.

Photograph: Deepak Salvi

© Copyright 2006 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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Number of User Comments: 13

Sub: She is indeed a victim of higher-ups !

Any person could be induced to give false witness in the court through money power. In the present case there was gaping evidence to point ...

Posted by usha

Sub: fancy a rebirth as Zaheera

Bewildered ! I am by the ways of justice in India, where the victims are penalised by our courts for a second time. The same ...

Posted by kulmohan

Sub: Is the judge crazy ?

Poor Zaheera. She is the victim/onlooker of a horrific crime. The corrupt police have done nothing to protect her. And the court gives her a ...

Posted by Pramod

Sub: 1 yr term for Zaheera-Best Bakery case

The verdict in this case can be seen along with Jessica Lal murder case. The witness turning hostile neeed to be stoped for the sake ...

Posted by Shanbhag

Sub: Poor Zahira

Poor Zaheera is victim of the system. She saw lots of politicians got away in spite of lying thousand times. They were never punished. No ...

Posted by Shashank Gaitonde



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