Teesta Setalvad

Teesta Setalvad

A bench orders her immediate surrender in a forgery case connected to the 2002 riots, but the Gujarat High Court’s order is overturned because it is “riddled with contradictions,” according to the Supreme Court.

The Gujarat High Court’s order requiring activist Teesta Setalvad to turn herself in right away in connection with a forgery case involving the 2002 riots was rejected by the Supreme Court on July 1st.

According to the Supreme Court’s order from September 2, 2022, Ms. Setalvad will continue to be released on bond, the top court declared.

Teesta Setalvad’s Role in the 2002 riots

According to the FIR [First Information Report] you submitted in this matter in June 2022, “She faked the statements [of the riot victims] supplied to the Special Investigation Team [SIT].” These declarations were made between 2008 and 2011… What have you been up to since 2011? The Gujarat police were questioned by a special bench presided over by Justice B.R. Gavai, who was represented by Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju.

The details of victims’ testimony and affidavits, according to senior attorney Kapil Sibal, have never been contested in the previous 20 years, according to Ms. Setalvad. Why now? No logic exists, he admitted.

The High Court ruling, which is over 100 pages long and is also signed by Justices A.S. Bopanna and Dipankar Datta, was described as “interesting to read” and “full of contradictions” by the bench.

Teesta Setalvad
Teesta Setalvad

The Bench pointed out that the High Court judge, for one, went on to elaborately discuss the evidence against Ms. Setalvad after deciding to adhere to the narrow issue of bail and not go into the merits of the case.

The top court determined there was no justification for placing Ms. Setalvad, who was also defended by senior attorneys C.U. Singh and Aparna Bhat, in detention. It stated that the case’s charge sheet had already been submitted. Custodial interrogation was not required because the case’s documentation evidence was in the police’s possession. She was also a woman, according to the Bench, and had already been detained, taken into custody by the police, and arrested in connection with the case.

Teesta Setalvad
Teesta Setalvad

On June 25 of last year, a group of Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad police detained Ms. Setalvad in Mumbai. Based on a FIR filed in Gujarat the day before, she was arrested. A Supreme Court judgment issued the FIR on June 24, 2022. The current Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who was the Chief Minister of Gujarat at the time, was also accused of being a part of a “larger conspiracy” that was allegedly responsible for the riots.

In the ruling, “disgruntled Gujarat officials” and “others” were criticized for “keeping the pot boiling” in the State for years after the riots in order to further their own personal agendas. Even the June 24 verdict stated that these individuals should be “put in the dock.”

On Wednesday, Mr. Sibal argued that the observations in the June 24 ruling shouldn’t have been used to file an FIR against Ms. Setalvad because she was not even involved in the Supreme Court proceedings.

What investigation could Gujarat complete in the twenty-four hours between the filing of this FIR and her detention the next day, the Special Bench questioned Gujarat.

A “serious crime”
Mr. Raju argued that the activist had committed a “serious” crime and attempted to topple a Gujarati-elected government by faking evidence.

Ms. Setalvad is charged in the FIR with forgery (Section 468 IPC) and falsifying evidence with the intent to convict a person of a capital offense (Section 194 IPC), among other offenses. Non-bailable offenses are included in both Sections 194 and 468.

Teesta Setalvad
Teesta Setalvad

The Supreme Court did, however, give Ms. Setalvad temporary bail on September 2 of last year on the grounds that she had previously endured seven days of police remand and spent two months in custody following her arrest on June 25.

Up until the High Court’s judgment on July 1st, which rejected her request for regular bail and demanded her immediate surrender, Ms. Setalvad was free on bail. Within hours following the High Court’s decision, the Supreme Court had suspended the order to surrender in a hearing that took place late at night.

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