Ahmedabad: The city police, probing the alleged Gulberg Society fund misuse case, today opposed the pleas filed by social activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand in the Gujarat High Court to de-freeze their and their two NGOs’ bank accounts.
Investigating officer of Gulberg Society fund misuse case, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) K N Patel, filed an affidavit in the high court, reiterating their claims that Setalvad and Anand had misused the money, meant for the 2002 Gujarat riots victims, for their personal use.
The bank accounts of Setalvad, Anand and their two NGOs Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace had been frozen by the city crime branch last year.
The action came soon after it began investigating the case, in which Setalvad allegedly collected Rs 1.51 crore from national and international donors promising to convert Gulberg Society into a 2002 riots museum but later utilised that money for personal use.
In an affidavit submitted before Justice Sonia Gokani of the high court, Patel said that Setalvad and Anand spent the riot-victims’ funds for their personal and luxury uses.
Opposing the couple’s pleas, the state agency said both of them, as trustees of the two NGos, through diverse methods allegedly misappropriated the funds. “They have misused the funds meant for the rehabilitation and welfare of the unfortunate victims of riots in Gujarat and money collected for construction of the dream museum,” stated the affidavit filed by Patel.
The agency said that the probe into the case of alleged embezzlement of funds for a museum at Gulberg society, which was devastated in the 2002 riots, revealed that expenses of very personal nature have been debited by them. The high court is likely to conduct hearing on the case on August 19.
Setalvad, along with others, had filed the plea before the Gujarat High Court on June 24 to de-freeze their bank accounts. They had challenged the order of a city metropolitan court which had in November last year rejected their pleas to de-freeze the bank accounts observing it may affect the investigation into the case.
The lower court had in its order also observed that the accused persons did not cooperate with the investigation into the case. One of the residents of Gulberg Society, Firoz Khan Pathan, had filed a complaint against Setalvad and others alleging that money was raised to make a museum at Gulberg Society in memory of those who were killed during the 2002 Gujarat riots but not been utilised for the purpose.
On January 5 last year, an FIR was lodged under IPC section 120 (B) for criminal conspiracy, section 406 (fraud) and section 420 (cheating) against Setalvad, Anand and others for allegedly usurping Rs 1.51 crore in the name of building a museum at Gulberg Society massacre site here. Setalvad has also filed an anticipatory bail plea in the Supreme Court, which is pending at present.