PTI, Sunday, February 19, 2006 19:00 IST
MUMBAI: The special sessions court here will deliver the verdict in the Best Bakery retrial on February 21, 18 months after charges were framed in the case.
Fourteen people were killed on March 1, 2002 when a mob attacked the Best Bakery in Vadodara. This was one of the worst massacres in the post-Godhra riots in Gujarat.
After the Vadodara court acquitted all the 21 accused in the case, causing consternation nationwide, the National Human Rights Commission filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court, requesting a retrial outside Gujarat. The apex court in April 2004 ordered a retrial.
The trial shifted to Additional Sessions Judge Abhay Thipsay’s court in Mumbai, which framed charges in September 2004.
Four of the 21 accused could not be retraced and the remaining 17 were rearrested and brought to Mumbai for retrial.
Public Prosecutor P R Vakil, who was appointed prosecutor in the case, passed away some days after the trial began and was replaced by Advocate Manjula Rao. The defence team was led by lawyer and former Rajya Sabha member Adhik Shirodkar.
Of the 75 witnesses, key prosecution witness Zaheera Shaikh turned hostile, along with her mother Sahrunissa, sister Saherabanu, brothers Nafitullah and Nasibullah.