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Nine get life term, 8 acquitted, perjury notice to Zaheera

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Mumbai, Feb 24 (UNI) Nine of the 21 accused in Gujarat's Best Bakery carnage were today convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by a city special court, which conducted the retrial on the order of the Supreme Court.

Charged with killing 14 people in the Best Bakery torched by them at Vadodara in the post-Godhra riots in March, 2002, the nine life convicts were also awarded punishment varying from one to ten years for other offences by Additional Sessions Judge Abhay Thipsay, who also imposed a fine of Rs 33,000 each on those convicted.

The life sentence will begin after the completion of shorter sentences, the Judge said in his order delivered in the jam-packed Mazagaon court here.

The court, however, acquitted eight accused.

Altogether 17 accused faced the retrial which took 19 months. Four accused have been absconding.

The Court also issued perjury notices to prime witness Zaheera Sheikh, her mother, sister and two brothers for misleading the court. The notice is returnable by March 28.

Zaheera's counsel Atul Mistry said in Vadodara that she would contest the perjury action, if initiated, by the Mumbai court.

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