Gujarat ATS team arrests activist Teesta Setalvad from her Mumbai residence day after SC upholds SIT clean chit to Modi

Setalvad was arrested and detained at the Santacruz police station in Mumbai. She will be brought to Gujarat and produced before a Judicial Magistrate

FPJ BureauUpdated: Saturday, June 25, 2022, 11:37 PM IST
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Mumbai: Activist Teesta Setalvad at Santacruz police station after being detained by Gujarat police, in Mumbai, Saturday, June 25, 2022. | (PTI Photo)

The Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Saturday morning arrested human rights activist Teesta Setalvad from her home in Mumbai, in less than 24 hours of the Supreme Court calling for action against those who had made false allegations against the Narendra Modi Government during the 2002 communal riots.

Giving a clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the then chief minister of Gujarat, the Supreme Court on Friday passed serious strictures against Setalvad as well as former Gujarat police officials RB Sreekumar and Sanjiv Bhatt in its judgment.

The arrest of Setalvad, who had taken up cudgels on behalf of the 2002 riot victims, followed a complaint by a police officer at Ahmedabad Crime Branch, who accused Setalvad along with certain police officials and unknown others of conspiring, forging records and creating false evidence.

Setalvad was arrested and detained at the Santacruz police station in Mumbai. She will be brought to Gujarat and produced before a Judicial Magistrate.

She and other two officials have been charged under Sections 194 (giving or fabricating false evidence), 211 (false charge of offence), 218 (Public servant framing incorrect record), 468 (Forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using forged document as genuine) and 120B (Criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The action follows the apex court on Friday dismissing a petition by Zakia Jafri, wife of slain former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the riots; she had challenged the Gujarat High Court’s decision of 2017 upholding the a lower court’s decision to accept the closure report filed by the SIT in the case, thereby giving a clean chit to Narendra Modi.

Dismissing her petition, the Supreme Court had called a section of Gujarat IPS officials, including former Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence) RB Sreekumar "disgruntled".

The apex court observed that there was a coalesced effort by these “disgruntled officials” to create sensation by making revelations that they themselves knew were false.

The Court stated: "At the end of the day, it appears to us that a coalesced effort of the disgruntled officials of the State of Gujarat along with others was to create sensation by making revelations which were false to their own knowledge. The falsity of their claims had been fully exposed by the SIT after a thorough investigation."

It went on to assert that such officials needed to be in the dock for "keeping (the) pot boiling" with ulterior motives.

The Supreme Court said, "Intriguingly, the present proceedings have been pursued for last 16 years including with the audacity to question the integrity of every functionary involved in the process of exposing the devious stratagem adopted (to borrow the submission of learned counsel for the SIT), to keep the pot boiling, obviously, for ulterior design. As a matter of fact, all those involved in such abuse of process, need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law."

The complaint by the Ahmedabad Crime Branch officer cited the observations of Friday’s Supreme Court judgment.

The complainant alleged that Teesta Setalvad had fabricated and twisted the facts, documents and evidence, including fabrication of documents by persons who were prospective witnesses of the complainant, which led them to depose through “pre-typed affidavits”. The complainant officer used the SIT report, which was accepted by the Supreme Court, as the basis of his FIR.

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