Vadodara, Nov 14 (UNI) A special team of Vadodara police, which had gone to Uttar Pradesh to trace the convicted mother and sister of Best Bakery prime witness Zahira Sheikh, returned empty handed to the city today.
While a search for the two absconders was on across Gujarat for the last few days, another Vadodara police team is still camping in Mumbai to locate and arrest the duo, who were found guilty for perjury and sentenced to three months imprisonment by a special Mumbai court in June last year.
Vadodara Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) sources said during the last few days, a series of raids had been conducted in the possible hideout of Zahira's mother Sehrunnisa and sister Sahera in different cities of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra but there was no trace of the duo so far.
Mumbai's special judge Abhay Thipsay had sentenced Zahira, her mother Sehrunnisa and sister Sahera to three months' rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs 500 on each of them for turning hostile and giving false evidence during the re-trial of the case in his court.
Both Sehrunnisa and Sahera went underground soon after deposing before the Mumbai court. The court issued arrest warrants after the duo failed to appear before it to serve the sentence. Recently, the special court issued a fresh warrant against them with a direction to the Vadodara crime branch to locate and produce the duo before the next hearing of the case on November 17.
In February 2006, the Mumbai court sentenced nine of the 21 accused to life imprisonment, holding them guilty of murder of 14 persons in the 'Best Bakery' of the Sheikh family in the post-Godhra riots in Vadodara city on March 1, 2002. The re-trial of the case was held in Mumbai by an order of the Supreme Court after a Vadodara trial court acquitted all the 21 accused and concluded that there was not enough evidence as prime witness Zahira and all her family members turned hostile.
Later, a division bench of the Supreme court also sentenced Zahira to one year imprisonment for committing contempt of court.