| Some of the accused at the police station. Picture by Manish Vaidya
Ahmedabad, Oct. 9: Thirteen of the 21 accused in the Best Bakery case surrendered today, two days after Vadodara police served bailable arrest warrants issued by the high court.
They were later released on bail against a surety of Rs 10,000 each after police took them to a fast track court, as directed by the high court.
The 13 surrendered at Panigate police station where the crime had been registered. All 21 accused were earlier acquitted by a fast track court for want of evidence.
The other eight are expected to surrender tomorrow. They could not surrender today as they were out of town, their advocate Rajendra Trivedi said.
Vadodara joint police commissioner K. Kumarswami filed an affidavit in the high court, saying 11 witnesses in the bakery case had been provided police protection; six others refused it. The high court had asked the police about the status of protection provided to witnesses.
Kumarswami’s affidavit said Vadodara police had approached their counterparts in three states to provide security as five of the 11 witnesses were staying in Uttar Pradesh, four in Mumbai and one in Bihar.
Those covered included prime witness Zahira Sheikh, who is now in Mumbai. She had claimed that she was threatened by BJP MLA Madhu Srivastava and Congress councillor Chandrakant Srivastava.
The police had earlier decided to give protection to six witnesses staying in Vadodara. But the cover was withdrawn after they refused it.
Seven witnesses in the case stay in the city, including Yasminbano, Zahira’s sister-in-law. Yasminbano, who accepted the offer, was provided protection because of a family dispute over the bakery.