A former colleague of social activist Teesta Setalvad has submitted an affidavit in the Bombay High Court pleading for a retrial of witnesses in the Best Bakery case.

Raiskhan Aziz Khan Pathan, a former employee of Ms. Setalvad's Citizens for Peace and Justice, has alleged that Ms. Setalvad tutored the Best Bakery blast case witnesses to give false testimonies in the court. The activist has denied the charges.

Setalvad's charge

In a release on Thursday, Ms. Setalvad's NGO said: “Rais Khan is acting under instructions from persons with vested interests and we can't respond anymore. The courts will vindicate us.”

Mr. Khan, in the affidavit to the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court, has pleaded that the statements of all the witnesses be recorded separately without the help of any NGO or any person.

“Payment to victims was not her [Ms. Setalvad's] priority but to the witnesses [was]. When a witness was paid Rs.50,000 or Rs.1,00,000, the victims were getting only Rs.5,000,” he stated in the affidavit.

He has even requested the court to direct the forensic science laboratory to do a lie detector or polygraph test on himself and Ms. Setalvad “to bring out the truth before the court.”

Fourteen persons, who took refuge in the Best Bakery during the post-Godhra riots, were killed on March 1, 2002 by mobs.