M A I N   N E W S

Teesta Setalvad moves SC for CBI probe
into Zahira episode
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, November 6
NGO activist Teesta Setalvad, who had taken initiative to bring the “callous” handling of Gujarat riot cases before the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Supreme Court, today moved the apex court for CBI probe into the entire controversy surrounding Best Bakery case key witness Zahira Sheikh.

In application filed in the Supreme Court Registry today, Citizen for Justice and Peace activist Setalvad pleaded the court to order the CBI probe into the circumstances that led Zahira to hold a press conference at Vadodra, day before she was to depose before a Mumbai Special Court on November 4 to record her statement afresh.

Zahira in her press conference at Vadodra on November 3, had alleged that Setalvad had pressurised her to give a “false statement” in the Mumbai court about identifying “innocent persons” as accused, forced her to sign blank papers on which her affidavits were recorded, keeping her in illegal confinement for six months and beating her up.

Zahira had turned hostile before a Vadodra fast track court earlier, resulting in the acquittal of all 21 accused in the massacre of 14 persons in Best Bakery, owned by her father, during the post-Godhra violence.

It was on her public interest litigation (PIL) that the Supreme Court had ordered retrial in the Best Bakery case in a Special Court in Mumbai to ensure that she could depose fearlessly in a court outside Gujarat.

Setalvad in her application alleged that there was “collusion” between the police and the riot accused and it was imperative to investigate as who had arranged Zahira’s press conference, just a day before her deposition and what they wanted to achieve.

She also said there should be a thorough probe whether the Vadodra Police Commissioner was aware of Zahira’s press conference as he was supposed to know it because she as the key witness in the case had special police protection.

The NGO activist stated that Zahira had in her affidavit before the Supreme Court alleged that the Gujarat police had miserably failed to investigate the Best Bakery massacre, which was the reason for transfer of the case outside Gujarat.

Setalvad termed Zahira’s allegations against her as baseless, saying that the content of her affidavits were read out to her before she had signed them.


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