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Best Bakery retrial verdict deferred till Feb 24

Source: PTI
February 21, 2006 13:22 IST
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A sessions court in Mumbai Tuesday deferred the verdict in the Best Bakery retrial case till February 24. Judge A M Tipsay, who was to deliver the verdict Tuesday, deferred it as soon as the court assembled.

The judge gave no reason. Seventeen people have been accused in the case of killing 14 persons in Vadodara on March 1, 2002 in one of the worst post-Godhra massacres in Gujarat.

High security prevailed in and around the courtroom and all the 17 accused were brought to the court. There were altogether 21 accused, of which 17 are facing the trial while four are absconding. The case was first tried in a fast track court in Vadodara which had aquitted all the accused on July 27, 2003. In one of the worst massacres, in post-Godhra riots in Gujarat in March 2002, 14 people were killed when a mob torched the Best bakery in Vadodara, owned by a muslim famuily.

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One of the members of the family, Zahira Sheikh, who had named accused in her police statement, retracted her version in the Vadodara court following which all the 21 accused were aquitted.

National Human Rights Commission filed a special leave petition in Supreme Court requesting a retrial outside Gujarat. Supreme Court on April 12, 2004 had ordered retrial in Mumbai and a special Judge Abhay Tipsay was appointed to hear the case.

He framed charges against accused on September 22, 2005.

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In Mumbai court, Zahira and her two brothers turned hostile and did not support the prosecution case saying that they did not see the mob setting the bakery on fire.

However, Zahira's sister-in-law Yasmin suppoted the prosecution, saying that Zahira and her family were present at the bak ry when the mob set fire to the bakery. Midway throught the trial, Zahira filed an affidavit in Gujarat court alleging that she was forced to give police statement by social workers Teesta Setelvad and Raez Khan.
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