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Court grants time till February 28

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Zahira Shaikh
Zahira Shaikh

Legal Correspondent

Trial in Best Bakery case

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted time till February 28 to the Mumbai Special Court to complete the trial in the Best Bakery case, which was transferred from a court in Vadodara in Gujarat. A Bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice H. K. Sema extended the time limit following a request received from the trial judge that he would require time till the end of February to complete the trial.

Zahira objected to the findings of the Gupta Committee report describing her as a "self-condemned liar" and saying that despite concerted efforts, the identity of the persons who had induced her to change her stand could not be ascertained.

Social activist Teesta Setalvad filed an application on November 6, 2004 demanding a CBI probe into the circumstances that led Ms. Zahira to reverse her statement in Vadodra on November 3, 2004.

The court on January 10, 2005 constituted the high-level committee, headed by its Registrar-General B.M. Gupta, who had co-opted Joint Commissioner of Police Kanwaljeet Deol as the other member to probe into the matter. The committee had held that Ms. Zahira was likely to have been induced to turn hostile in the case.

Appearing for Ms. Zahira, counsel D.K. Garg argued before the bench that the finding was a presumption based on presumption. He asserted that there was no concrete evidence but the inquiry officer was prejudiced to give some sort of a finding. He said the entire procedure adopted by the committee was not fair and objective.

In the written objections, Ms. Zahira said the facts attributed to her by Ms. Teesta were not placed by her but by Ms. Teesta and she was not privy to the submissions which formed the basis of the judgment of the apex court in April 2004.

It said the disturbances in Gujarat in February-March 2002 were caused by the tragic incident of burning passengers in a train when it passed through Godhra but nobody even "makes a passing reference to that tragedy." It said many issues that could have been answered by cross-examination but the inquiry was conducted in a manner that violated the rules of natural justice.Further arguments will continue on Wednesday.


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