The Gujarat Police Crime Branch on Sunday arrested Teesta Setalvad in connection with a case on her NGO which gave baseless information about the 2002 Gujarat riots to the police. The Gujarat Police will produce her in the court at 3 pm today and will seek 14-days of custody as she is not cooperating in the investigation.
The action came after Union Minister Amit Shah in an interview with ANI said that Teesta Setalvad-run NGO gave baseless information about the 2002 Gujarat riots to the police. “Former IPS officer RB Sreekumar was arrested yesterday and Teesta Setalvad was arrested today. Forging of evidence and hindering with evidence will be looked into. We will produce both the accused in the court by 3 pm,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Chaitanya Mandlik.
“The accused are not supporting us in the investigation. We are demanding 14 days of custody. Teesta will be produced in front of the Magistrate and all her statements will be recorded there. We are getting the documents arranged from various sources,” said the DCP. He further said that as of now the investigation is at a primary level and later strict actions will be taken once the investigation is done.
“We have done the medical check-up, and the due process was followed by the Crime Branch. The investigation is at a primary level, strict actions will be taken once the investigation is done. We have the primary affidavits and documents submitted by accused,” he added. Earlier in the day, Setalvad was taken for a medical checkup at Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad.
“They have done my medical. I have a big bruise on my hand, this is what the ATS did to me. They are taking me to the magistrate’s court,” said Teesta Setalvad had said after the medical checkup. On Saturday, Gujarat Anti-terrorism Squad (ATS) team detained Setalvad from Mumbai in connection with a case on her NGO and later in the night she was taken to Ahmedabad.
The Gujarat ATS team took Teesta Setalvad to the Santacruz police station yesterday. “I have read the judgement very carefully. The judgement clearly mentions the name of Teesta Setalvad. The NGO that was run being run by her – I don’t remember the name of the NGO- had given baseless information about the riots to the police,” Amit Shah, in an exclusive interview, told ANI.
The Supreme Court had on Friday, dismissed as “devoid of merit” an appeal by Zakia Jafri in a plea challenging SIT’s clean chit to the then chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi and others in cases related to the riots. Zakia Jafri is the widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the riots. Asked about his mention of NGOs, Shah said: “I have read the judgment hurriedly but it clearly states the name of Teesta Setalvad. It was Setalvad’s NGO that gave an application involving BJP workers in every police station and the pressure by the media was so immense that every application was treated as truth.”
A three-judge bench of the apex court headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar, upholding the Special Investigation Team or SIT’s 2012 clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was the then chief minister of Gujarat, in the Gujarat riots case, said that Setalvad, co-petitioner in the case, exploited the emotions of Zakia Jafri. “All those involved in such abuse of process need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with the law,” the judges said, adding that the appeal was filed under “dictation of someone.”
“Antecedents of Teesta Setalvad need to be reckoned with and also because she has been vindictively persecuting this lis [dispute] for her ulterior design by exploiting the emotions and sentiments of Zakia Jafri, the real victim of the circumstances,” the top court said in its order. The case pertains to what came to be known as Gulbarg Society incident, in which 68 people, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, were killed in the riots triggered by the burning of a train coach in which 59 people perished in February 2002.
A decade later, the SIT report, exonerated Narendra Modi, citing “no prosecutable evidence” in the Gulbarg Society case. On Friday, upholding the SIT clearance, the top court dismissed the petition filed by Zakia Jafri, saying that the plea was “to keep the pot boiling, obviously, for ulterior design.”
The SIT had opposed the plea of Jafri saying there is a sinister plot behind the complaint to probe the “larger conspiracy” behind the 2002 Gujarat riots and the original complaint by Jafri was directed by social activist Setalvad, who had also challenged an October 2017 order of the Gujarat High Court refusing to reopen the closure report of the SIT.
“The protagonists of the quest for justice sitting in a comfortable environment in their air-conditioned office may succeed in connecting failures of the state administration at different levels during such a horrendous situation, little knowing or even referring to the ground realities and the continual effort put in by the duty holders in controlling the spontaneous evolving situation unfolding aftermath mass violence across the state,” the Supreme Court said.