Controversy Over Best Bakery Prosecutor

June 10, 2004 | Comments Off on Controversy Over Best Bakery Prosecutor

Representatives of Zahira Sheikh, plaintiff in the Best Bakery retrial proceeding in Maharashtra, stated that they were not consulted in the selection of the public prosecutor:

Ms. Teesta Setalvad, secretary of the CJP, told The Hindu today that “we had suggested several names to the Gujarat Government, but finally the person appointed as the public prosecutor was not anyone we had named.”

The public prosecutor had not been chosen by the start of the retrial, with the Gujarat government claiming it had the right to choose the prosecutor.  On June 7, however, the Maharasthra government had asked the judge for 15 days to also enable them to appoint a public prosecutor.  Plaintiffs also wanted a prosecutor chosen by the Maharashtra government, since the previous Gujarat public prosecutor had failed to properly try the case, leading to the transfer and retrial.

In an editorial, the Hindustan Times describes the reduced expectations for the retrial, given its slow start despite the promise of daily hearings: 

In ordering the re-trial on the basis of the statements of a number of witnesses, including key witness Zaheera Shaikh, the court had told the Gujarat counsel that it had “no faith in your prosecuting agency. There appears to be some collusion between the government and the prosecution…” It had, therefore, ordered that the new public prosecutor be appointed after consultations with the witnesses and victims. So now, even as Ms Shaikh demands a Maharashtra government appointee, the Gujarat government has announced the names of its own prosecutors to conduct the trial.

The Gujarat section of the blog gives recent updates on the Best Bakery case and other cases arising from the 2002 Gujarat pogroms against Muslims.


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