India: Four get life terms, 5 acquitted in Best Bakery case

Monday, July 09, 2012
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday convicted and awarded life terms to four people accused in the 2002 Best Bakery case. Five others were acquitted by the court due to lack of evidence against them. 

Ruling out its verdict a division bench comprises Justices VM Kanade and PD Kode passed the order in response to an appeal filed by the nine accused, who have earlier challenged the life sentence awarded to them by the lower court.

The court said today, that it upheld the life sentence of the four accused based on the statements of the four injured eyewitnesses, all workers of Best Bakery. The eyewitnesses had identified the four accused as present at the place of incident with swords and other weapons.

Reportedly, the High Court has also slammed the police for 'serious lapses' in their investigation as the court said it was the 'duty of the police to record additional statements of injured eyewitnesses, who have been injured in the incident.'

 Best Bakery on Hanuman Tekdi in Gujarat's Vadodara city was burnt down by a mob on March 1, 2002 after the Godhra riots in Gujarat. Fourteen people were killed in the incident.
An eyewitness Zaheera Sheikh, who had lost her family in the case, had moved the Supreme Court demanding a retrial when the court had acquitted all the 21 accused after the trial. 

The Supreme Court had ordered a retrial and had transferred the case to Maharashtra.

The Mazgaon court had convicted and awarded life terms to nine and acquitted eight others in 2006. Four of those nine accused were today found guilty, and the other five were acquitted.
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