New Delhi: The Best Bakery case, in which 14 people were killed on March 1, 2002 during the Gujarat carnage, had become one of the most high-profile cases of the violence that erupted across Gujarat after the Godhra train incident. Following is the chronology of events in the Best Bakery case:
March 1, 2002: Best Bakery in Vadodara is burnt down by a mob, killing 14 persons.
March 2, 2002: Main complainant Zaheera Sheikh files first information report naming the accused.
March 21, 2002: Zaheera appears before National Human Rights Commission and demands justice.
May 7, 2003: Zaheera's brother Nafitullah and sister Saira retract statements in fast track court in Vadodara, which first conducted the trial in Best Bakery case.
May 17, 2003: Zaheera turns hostile in the fast track court, saying she cannot identity the accused. On the same day, Zaheera's mother Sahrunissa and younger brother Naseebullah deny their statements given to police.
June 27, 2003: Additional sessions judge H U Mahida of Vadodara fast track court acquits all the 21 accused in the case who were named by Zaheera in her statements before police and NHRC.
July 7, 2003: Zaheera names BJP legislator Madhu Srivastava for intimidating her into turning hostile. She demands retrial outside Gujarat.
July 11, 2003: Zaheera gives statement on oath before NHRC in the presence of Teesta Setalvad, secretary of Citizens for Justice and Peace, about how she was forced to retract her statements in the court. She also names those who threatened her and her family to retract her statement
August 7, 2003: Gujarat government challenges the fast track court's verdict acquitting the accused by filing an appeal in Gujarat high court.
September 29, 2003: Gujarat government challenges the fast track court's order in the high court with an amended appeal.
December 26, 2003: Gujarat high court dismisses appeal filed by Gujarat government challenging acquittal of accused by the fast track court.
March 12, 2004: Supreme Court admits Gujarat government's appeal against acquittal.
April 12, 2004: Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Doraiswamy Raju and Justice Arijit Pasayat order retrial of Best Bakery case outside Gujarat, in Maharashtra.
September 9, 2004: Nafitullah Sheikh, brother of Zaheera, records statement before Vadodara police on threats meted out to him.
September 22, 2004: Charges framed against 17 accused in Mumbai court by judge Abhay Thipsay. Four other accused were declared absconding.
October 4, 2004: Trial begins in the special court in Mumbai presided over by Judge Abhay Thipsay.
November 3, 2004: Another turnaround by Zaheera, says that her statement given in fast track court at Vadodara was correct.
January 1, 2005: Tehelka magazine stings Vadodara MLA Madhu Srivastava and his cousin Batthoo saying they paid her Rs 18 lakh to change her testimony.
January 10, 2005: SC directs Registrar General BM Gupta to conduct a probe into the basis of Zaheera’s statements and the affidavits filed by Setalvad in the apex court.
August 24, 2005: The SC committee submits its report, calling Zaheera a 'self-condemned liar' who had fallen to inducements to give inconsistent statements. It gives a clean chit to Setalvad.
February 24, 2006: A Mumbai sessions court convicts and gives life imprisonment to nine of the 17 accused facing trial. It also issues notices to Zaheera and her family for tendering false evidence.
February 2, 2008: I-T dept slaps Rs 38-lakh tax notice on Zahira Sheikh
July 9, 2012: Mumbai HC acquits 5 in the case, life term to 4 upheld