Ahmedabad (Gujarat): A special investigation team (SIT) on Wednesday filed a charge sheet against activist Teesta Setalvad, retired Director General of Police RB Sreekumar and former IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt in a case of alleged “fabrication of evidence” in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots.
SIT has filed a 100-page charge sheet in court. The investigation agency has also produced documents while also mentioning witnesses in the charge sheet. Earlier on September 2, the Supreme Court granted interim bail to Teesta in a case in which she was arrested for allegedly fabricating documents to frame innocent people in the 2002 Gujarat riots cases.
The apex court directed Setalvad to surrender her passport till the matter is considered by the High Court.
A bench of Chief Justice UU Lalit, Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia said that in its view Setalvad is entitled to release on interim bail.
The bench also said that Setalvad shall be produced before the concerned court for interim bail and the concerned court shall release her on bail subject to such conditions that the concerned court deems fit.
In its order, the top court noted that Teesta, a lady, has been in custody since two months and the investigative machinery has had the advantage of custodial interrogation of her for seven days.
The order of the apex court came on a plea of Setalvad seeking interim bail. She has approached the top court against the August 3 order of the Gujarat High Court which issued notice to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) seeking its response to bail applications filed by Setalvad and former Gujarat Director General of Police (DGP) RB Sreekumar and posted the hearing on September 19.
They were arrested by the Ahmedabad Police Crime Branch on June 25 on the basis of a First Information Report (FIR) registered against them under sections 468 (forgery for cheating) and 194 (fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction for capital offences) of the Indian Penal Code.
The SIT formed to probe the case has alleged that Setalvad and Sreekumar were part of a larger conspiracy carried out at the behest of late Congress leader Ahmed Patel to destabilise the then Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government led by Narendra Modi, who was the Chief Minister of Gujarat at the time.
Former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt is also an accused in the case.
The FIR against Setalvad, Sreekumar, and Bhatt was registered after the Supreme Court had on June 24 dismissed the plea filed by Zakia Jafri, widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, challenging the clean chit given by the SIT to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several others in 2002 Gujarat riots.
Ehsan Jafri was among 69 people killed during the violence at Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002. Zakia Jafri has challenged the SIT’s clean chit to 64 people including Narendra Modi who was the Gujarat Chief Minister during the riots in the State.
She had alleged a “larger conspiracy” behind the post-Godhra incident riots.
However, the SIT in the apex court 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 Teesta Setalvad, who levelled allegations just to keep the pot boiling.