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Perjury charges: Zaheera, family plead not guilty

Source: PTI
Last updated on: May 09, 2006 16:24 IST
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Zaheera Shaikh, along with her family members, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges framed against her by a sessions court for giving false evidence in the Best Bakery case.

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The trial in this connection will start on Wednesday.

Zaheera, prime witness in the case, was brought to the court from Byculla jail on Tuesday where she is serving a one-year sentence imposed on her by the Supreme Court for contempt of court.

The judge had read out the charges to Zaheera on the last occasion and explained the accusations against her and other members of her family.

Additional Sessions Judge Abhay Thipsay, who had conducted the retrial in Best Bakery case, told Zaheera she had falsely stated in court that she had not lodged the First Information Report regarding the incident and that she was unaware of the document although it bore her signature.

The judge also told Zaheera she had falsely stated before him during the retrial that she had not told Vadodara court earlier about talking to police regarding the Best Bakery incident.

He referred to Vadodara court proceedings, which indicated that she had indeed told police about it.

Thipsay further told Zaheera that she had falsely stated before the Mumbai court during retrial that she was unaware of the outcome of verdict of Vadodara court, which had acquitted the accused in Best Bakery case as she and other witnesses had turned hostile.

Explaining the charges to Zaheera, he said she had given a false statement as she was not aware of what happened to the case after it was over in Vadodara court and had also falsely feigned ignorance about the reason as to why the case was being tried again in Mumbai.

The judge also pointed out that Zaheera had turned around by initially stating in evidence that she had not named any one as offender or culprit before any authority or the media but later saying on oath that she had named certain persons as offenders on being tutored by different persons.

He said Zaheera had falsely stated that she was ignorant about the grievances made by her on the conduct of previous trial and also about the Supreme Court ordering the re-trial in view of such grievances. Along with Zaheera, her mother Seherunnisa, brothers Nasibullah and Nafitullah, and sister Sahira are also facing perjury charges and all of them pleaded not guilty on Tuesday.

As regards Zaheera's sister Sahira, the judge said she had made contradictory statements by saying that nobody stayed in the house that was built by the side of Best Bakery and later asserting that her entire family stayed in the same house.

One of the statements was false, the judge noted.

The court pointed out that Sahira had feigned ignorance about the death of her sister Sabira saying she was unaware about the reason of her death, but later admitted she had died in the riots.

In this regard, she had lied to the court.

The judge charged Saheera with falsely stating that she did not know the names of the Best Bakery workers and had also not named them during deposition in the previous trial in the Vadodara court.

He referred to Vadodara court records, which showed that she had given the names of the workers.

Thipsay also told her that she had falsely stated that she was unaware about Zaheera lodging a complaint with police about Best Bakery catching fire on March 1, 2002.

About Nasibullah, the judge said during the re-trial, he had denied making a statement in Vadodara court about police obtaining signature on his statement.

However, the original records show that he had stated this to that court.

Hence, he had given false evidence.

Thipsay charged Zaheera's mother Seherunnisa with telling a pack of lies to the court during the re-trial.

Citing an example, he said Seherunnisa had falsely stated that her daughter-in-law Yasmin Shaikh was not present when the Best Bakery was set afire.

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