Bombay HC acquits 5 accused in Best Bakery case

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Mumbai, Jul 9: A Division Bench of the Bombay High Court today acquitted five of the accused in the Best Bakery case but upheld the trial court's verdict regarding four others.

Justices VM Kanade and PD Kode said that Rajubhai Baria, Shailesh Tadvi, Pankaj Goasvi, Jagdish Rajput and Suresh alias Lalo Devjibhai Vasava were being let off as there was not sufficient evidence to warrant their conviction.

However, the judges rejected the pleas of Sanjay Thakkar, Bahadur Singh Chauhan, Sanabhai Baria and Dinesh Rajbhar to overturn the trial court's order against them.

The court took into cognisance the statements of four persons who were injured when a mob burnt the Best Bakery at Vadodara in Gujarat on Mar 1, 2002. These witnesses used to work at the bakery that was owned by the Sheikh family.

The attack on the bakery, supposedly in reaction to the Godhra train burning incident two days earlier, claimed 14 lives in all. Incidentally, three of the victims belonged to the majority community.

The prosecution had urged that stringent punishment be given to altogether 17 accused but eight of them were acquitted by a special court here.

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