Sunday, January 29, 2023

Gujarat riots: Teesta Setalvad tampered with evidence at the behest of a politician, Gujarat govt tells Supreme Court

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The state of Gujarat on Monday filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court, stating that the first information report (FIR) filed against rights activist Teesta Setalvad, alleging fabrication of evidence related to the 2002 Gujarat Riots, was not based on a verdict of the Apex Court alone, but was backed by evidence.

The affidavit was placed before a Bench comprising CJI Uday Umesh Lalit, Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia, which was hearing the bail petition of Setalvad.

Gujarat police had arrested the activist on June 26 this year, for allegedly falsifying documents to frame high-ranking officials, including then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 Godhra riots case.

The affidavit alleged that Setalvad, along with other accused, indulged in various criminal acts of commission, to achieve political, financial and other material benefits by means of executing the conspiracy.

It further claimed that the statements of witnesses established that Setalvad conspired with a senior leader of a political party.

The petitioner had held meetings with a political leader and received large amount of money. It has come on record by way of the statement of a witness that such money was not part of any relief-related Corpus, alleged the affidavit.

On August 22, the top court of the country had issued notice to the Gujarat government, seeking its response.

On June 24, the Apex Court had made certain observations against Setalvad and former DGP Sreekumar, terming both as ‘disgruntled’.

The remarks were made by a three-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court, while rejecting the plea filed by Zakia Jafri, wife of slain Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who was killed during the 2002 Gujarat Riots.

Zakia Jafri had challenged the Gujarat High Court’s verdict of 2017, upholding the magistrate’s decision to accept the closure report filed by SIT in the case.

The Court noted that there was a coalesced effort by them to create a sensation by making revelations that were false to their own knowledge.

After two days, Setalvad was arrested by the Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad from Mumbai and taken to Gujarat. Sreekumar was also arrested from Gujarat.

On July 30, a Sessions Court in Ahmedabad refused to grant bail to Setalvad, noting that she and other accused appeared to have aimed to ‘destabilise’ the Gujarat government and defame the state for ulterior motives.

Setalvad then moved the Gujarat High Court for bail, which issued notice to the Special Investigation Team (SIT), seeking it’s response on the bail applications filed by Setalvad and former Gujarat Director General of Police (DGP) R.B. Sreekumar.

The matter is slated to be heard by the High Court on September 19.

Case title: Teesta Atul Setalvad and Another vs State of Gujarat

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