Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Pioneer :: Home : >> Prime witness was ‘coerced’ by Teesta


Navin Upadhyay | New Delhi

The prime witness in the Best Bakery case was “manipulated” and “coerced” to give false evidence before the trial court in Mumbai. This startling disclosure has emerged from an affidavit sent to the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court on June 17, 2010 by Sheikh Yasmeen Banu, whose father-in-law Habibulla owned the ill-fated Best Bakery. Yasmeen’s husband Nafitulla was injured when rioters set Best Bakery ablaze. Nafitulla later died due to illness. In all, 14 persons were killed in the blaze.

In her affidavit dated June 17, 2010, Yasmeen, whose eyewitness account of the carnage played a crucial role in the conviction of the alleged accused persons stated that her deposition before the trial court was made under duress and she regretted that the innocent persons have been convicted on the basis of her testimony. She has implicated social activist Teesta Setalvad for her “fabricated deposition.”

Yasmeen stated that after the carnage she went to her parents’ home at Chhotaudepur along with her maternal uncle. After sometime, she went to Baroda along with her daughter and mother and started living in Best Bakery house after getting it repaired.

That is when Yasmeen was approached by Setalvad’s trusted right-hand man Rais Khan. Incidentally, Khan has separately accused Setalvad of fabricating the affidavits of the riot witnesses.