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SC notices to Zaheera Sheikh, Gujarat govt

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi/PTI
Last updated on: December 06, 2004 17:32 IST
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The Supreme Court on Monday asked key witness Zaheera Sheikh and the Gujarat government to explain whether her latest statement favouring the accused in the Best Bakery case amounted to filing a false affidavit before the apex court and should it be viewed as contempt of court.

A bench comprising Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice H K Sema also issued notice to the National Human Rights Commission on an application filed by Teesta Setalvad of the non-governmental organisation - Citizens for Justice and Peace.

Setalvad had sought a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the frequent change of statements by Zaheera, who, nearly a month ago, stirred a hornets' nest by accusing the NGO of pressuring her to change her statement from what she had deposed during the trial earlier in a Gujarat court.

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Based on Zaheera's statement accusing the Gujarat police of threatening the accused not to speak the truth before the trial court in the riots case, the apex court had on April 12 ordered transfer of the trial to Mumbai.

Appearing for Zaheera, senior advocate P N Lekhi said that Setalvad's application was 'full of fiction'. Besides, as the Best Bakery trial is in progress, he pleaded that the Supreme Court not pass any order which would have a bearing on the witnesses. He was supported by senior advocate Nageshwar Rao, who appeared for the accused.

The court has asked Zaheera and the Gujarat government to file their response before January 3 and posted Setalvad's
application for further hearing on January 10.

Also see:
Zaheera's sister turns hostile         

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi/PTI