HC reserves Best Bakery case order

The Bombay High Court today reserved its judgement on the appeal filed by nine persons challenging the life sentence awarded to them in the 2002 Best Bakery case. A division bench of Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode had in March commenced day-to-day hearing in the appeals filed by the nine convicted accused, challenging the lower court's order sentencing them to life imprisonment six years back.

The bench today reserved its judgment in the case after hearing both the defence and prosecution and said it would start dictating the order from tomorrow in open court. Fourteen persons, who had taken refuge in the Best Bakery on Hanuman Tekdi in Gujarat's Vadodara city on 1 March 2002, during the post-Godhra riots, were killed by a mob of 20 persons.

Of the 17 accused, nine were convicted and sentenced to life by a special court in Mumbai in 2006. The nine had then approached the High Court challenging the order. In a twist to the case, prime witness Yasmeen Shaikh had earlier this year filed an application before the High Court claiming that she was forced to give evidence against the accused by social activist Teesta Setalvad.

Yasmeen had alleged that Teesta had promised her money if she gives a false deposition before the trial court implicating the arrested accused in the case. She had sought the High Court to re-record her evidence. The court had, however, said it would first hear and decide on the appeals filed by the convicts.

Teesta too later filed an intervening application seeking the court to hear her side also while deciding the appeals. The court said it would hear both Yasmeen and Teesta's applications at the end of the hearing. ‘If we agree with the trial court's judgment then we will hear the applications. If not then the applications need not be heard,’ the court had said.
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