SC Grants Interim Bail To Activist Teesta Setalvad, Asks Her To Surrender Passport

SC Grants Interim Bail To Activist Teesta Setalvad, Asks Her To Surrender Passport

The Supreme Court on Friday granted interim bail to activist Teesta Setalvad in a matter related to allegedly fabricating documents to frame innocent people in 2002 Gujarat riots cases, PTI reported. A bench comprising Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Sudhanshu Dhulia asked Setalvad to surrender her passport with the trial court till the time the Gujarat High Court decides her regular bail petition.

The Supreme Court said the Gujarat High Court would decide Teesta Setalvad’s regular bail plea independently and uninfluenced by any observations made by it. Setalvad is lodged in the Sabarmati central jail.

“It must be said that matter is still pending before High Court. We are, therefore, not considering whether Setalvad is released on bail or not and High Court shall decide the same. We are only on during pendency of such application, should the custody of appellant be insisted upon or be granted interim bail. Thus we grant Teesta Setalvad interim bail,” the SC bench said, reported Bar and Bench.

The Gujarat High Court had on August 3 issued a notice to the state government on the bail plea of Setalvad and fixed the matter for hearing on September 19.

Setalvad has been under custody since June 25 for allegedly fabricating documents to frame high-ranking officials, including then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, in the 2002 riots cases in the state. She was arrested a day after the Supreme Court, on June 24, dismissed the appeal filed by Zakia Jafri, wife of Congress leader Ehsan Jafri who was killed during the violence at Ahmedabad’s Gulberg Society in 2002, challenging the SIT’s clean chit to then CM Modi and others during the riots.

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On July 30, an Ahmedabad sessions court rejected the bail applications of Setalvad and former Gujarat Director General of Police RB Sreekumar in the case, saying their release would send a message to wrongdoers that a person could level allegations with impunity and get away with it.

Sreekumar, who was arrested along with Setalvad, has also moved the Gujarat High Court for bail.

The third accused in the case, former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt has not applied for bail. Bhatt was already in jail for another criminal matter when he was arrested in this case.

They were arrested by the Ahmedabad city crime branch after a First Information Report (FIR) was registered against them under Indian Penal Code sections 468 (forgery for cheating) and 194 (fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction for capital offences).