In the end, it was the “estranged cousin” who had claimed she had severed all ties with him and denied any knowledge of her whereabouts, who escorted Zaheera Sheikh to the Mazgaon sessions court this evening.Three days after the Supreme Court sentenced her to a year in prison and a Rs 50,000-fine for contempt of court, the controversial face of a landmark re-trial turned herself in.
The court remanded her to judicial custody until Monday.
In the evening, when she was taken to the Bhoiwada police lock-up, Special Public Prosecutor Manjula Rao said she wished to remain in Maharashtra. ‘‘Zaheera requested that she should not be sent back to Gujarat but rather be allowed to remain with the police here,’’ said Rao.‘‘The court will decide on this when she is produced before it on Monday.”
On Wednesday, cousin Sanamullah Manihar had told The Indian Express that Zaheera, her mother Sehrunissa and her sister Sahira, all had snapped any links with him. This afternoon, however, hours before the surrender, he admitted that she was in “a safe place.”
“She is not with me at present but she is in a safe place. Call me after half an hour,” he said. Incidentally, Sanamullah’s brother Aslam is engaged to Zaheera—a marriage was to be held soon but then came the SC verdict.
“She (Zaheera) was kept at different locations by Sanamullah as he knew we would raid his residence following the Supreme court judgment...He made all the arrangements for her surrender,’’ said Senior Police Inspector K B Jadeja of Vadodara’s Crime Branch, who lead two teams that have been camping here since the verdict came.
On Friday evening, Zaheera wearing a burqa was escorted by a close associate of Sanamullah in an auto-rickshaw to Kashimira and then from Kashimira to Mazgaon courts in a taxi. Sanamullah had in the meantime already reached at the court.