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Supreme Court grants interim bail to activist Teesta Setalvad

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The Supreme Court on Friday granted interim bail to activist Teesta Setalvad, who was arrested by Gujarat Police in June this year for allegedly fabricating documents to frame high-ranking officials, including the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in cases related to Godhra riots of 2002.

The Apex Court directed her to surrender her passport till the matter was taken up by the High Court and ensure complete cooperation in the investigation.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice U.U. Lalit, Justice Ravindra Bhat and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia further directed for producing her tomorrow and releasing her on conditions, which the court deem appropriate.

The Bench observed that Teesta Setalvad, a lady, has remained in custody since two months and the investigative machinery has had the advantage of custodial interrogation for a period of seven days.

The bench noted that the offences alleged against Teesta pertain to 2002 and at best, the concerned documents were sought to be produced by 2012.

Thus, the essential ingredients of investigation, including custodial interrogation, having been completed, the matter assumed a complexion where the relief of interim bail was evidently made out, noted the Apex Court and granted interim bail to Teesta.

Yesterday, the Apex Court pulled up the Gujarat High Court over its order to list Setalvad’s bail plea for hearing on September 19, almost six weeks after issuing notice in the case.

Stating whether this was the ‘standard practice in Gujarat,’ the top court of the country asked the government of Gujarat about the material they had gathered in the past two months against Setalvad.

The CJI-led Bench further noted that there was no grave offence, such as POTA or UAPA, meaning that there was no statutory mandate against the grant of bail.

The top court of the country added that a lady was entitled to ‘favoured treatment’ in normal IPC offences under Section 437, thus granting her interim bail.

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