Special Correspondent

Zahira asked to give explanations for 15 charges

Probation officer directed to file report on Zahira's younger brother, NasibullahZahira denies knowledge of FIR although it carries her signatureRepeatedly answers that she was telling the truth

MUMBAI: Additional Sessions Judge Abhay Thipsay reserved till Monday, the final order in the perjury case against Zahira Sheikh, main eyewitness in the Best Bakery incident.

The special court, which conducted the re-trial in the case, also decided to prosecute Zahira and her family for perjury. The entire family had turned hostile during the proceedings.

Zahira's mother and sister were sentenced to three months rigorous imprisonment and to pay a fine of Rs. 500 each for perjury but their sentence was suspended as a revision petition was filed against the Best Bakery verdict in the High Court, which will be heard next week. On Thursday the judge ordered a probation officer to file a report on Zahira's younger brother Nasibullah, who is 18, by June 15. The court found Nasibullah guilty of perjury but will decide on passing a sentence after the report is submitted.

On Friday the court read out 15 charges of perjury against Zahira and asked her to explain why she had made such statements. To most questions Zahira replied that she had spoken the truth or that she did not wish to answer. The judge said that in the course of the re-trial she had said that she had no idea why the court was hearing the case again. She had also said she was not aware of a First Information Report in the case even though it had her signature.

Zahira said she was on the roof when the riots broke out and she had come down by a cement staircase in the house. However, later she said the fire brigade brought her and her family down with the help of ladders. Mr. Thipsay said that both couldn't be true statements. To questions such as this Zahira said she did not wish to say anything.

During the re-trial Zahira had said that she did not know the outcome of the case at Vadodara. The fast track court there had acquitted all the 21 accused in the Best Bakery case.