Zaheera and family untraceable; Police go to Mumbai
Vadodara, Mar 04: With Zaheera Sheikh and her entire family remaining underground even after pronouncement of verdict in the Best bakery re-trial case last month, a team of Vadodara police has been sent to Mumbai to trace out the family and serve them notices for perjury.
Mumbai Special Court Judge Abhay Thipsay, while convicting nine of the 17 accused re-arrested following a Supreme Court order for retrial of the case outside Gujarat, had issued notices against main witness Zaheera, her mother Sehrunissa, sister and two brothers - Nafitullah and Nasibullah for their shifting testimony.
The Mumbai court had reportedly given the Sheikh family members time till March 20 to reply to the perjury notice. If convicted in the perjury case, the accused could be sentenced upto seven years in jail.
City police commissioner Deepak Swaroop, who earlier confirmed that Zaheera was in Mumbai, today said he had sent a police team to the metropolis to trace Zaheera and her family members in order to serve the perjury notices.
He said though they had no definite information regarding Zaheer's whereabouts, the team was expected to return to Vadodara after acomplishing its task.
When contacted, Zaheera's Vadodara-based counsel Atul Mistry said none of Zaheera's family members had contacted him so far and he had also no idea as to where they were all now.
According to residents of Hanuman Tekri, Zaheera's ailing elder brother Nafitullah, who shifted from Mumbai to the renovated Best bakery along with his second wife Heena and their two-yr-old daughter in November 2004, was last seen in the beginning of February, after his discharge from the Bhailal Amin General hospital.
He had been admitted there for over a month for treatment of acute pancreatis and jaundice.
Heena, who has meanwhile rented out a portion of the disputed Best bakery building to a family from Jhansi, said her husband had left for Mumbai before the judgement came, and she had no touch with the Sheikh family now.
The police chief said they were also looking for the four absconders -- Jayanti Gohil, his son Ramesh Gohil, Harshad Solanki and Mahesh Gohil, against whom the Mumbai special court had issued non-bailable arrest warrants in connection with the Best bakery massacre in which 14 people were burnt alive by a mob on March one, 2002.