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Zaheera to challenge perjury charges if initiated: Counsel

By Staff
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Vadodara, Feb 24 (UNI) Best bakery case prime witness Zaheera Sheikh's counsel Atul Mistry today said his client would contest the perjury action if it was initiated against her and her family members by the Mumbai special court.

Reacting to the court's verdict that convicted nine of the 21 accused and ordered framing of perjury charges against Zaheera who had turned hostile during the re-trial, Adv Mistry said Zaheera had told the truth before the Mumbai judge during her testimony. ''Let the court issue notice. We are prepared to fight for justice.'' According to legal experts here, the Mumbai court itself could proceed with the perjury proceedings against the ''tainted'' witnesses for trying to protect the accused with retracted statements.

If Zaheera was found guilty, she could be sentenced to seven years imprisonment.

Asked about Zaheera's whereabouts, Adv Mistry said he had no communication with her for the last three months after she left Vadodara for her native place in Uttar Pradesh. The Sheikh family was expected to contact him soon following the pronouncement of today's judgement in the case, he said, adding that he was not aware if Zaheera had returned to the city.

During the re-trial in Mumbai special court last December, barring Zaheera's sister-in-law Yashmin Bano, entire Sheikh family, including Zaheera, her mother Sehrunissa, sister Saheera and brothers Nafitullah and Nasibullah, were declared hostile by the prosecution after they retracted from their earlier statements and did not identify any of the accused while maintaining they had been unable to see anything on the night of the carnage on March 1, 2002, due to smoke and darkness.

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